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AUSTRAL 

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1908 



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Australian Lectures 1908 



Presented to the Library by 
The Australasian Section of the 
Theosophical Society. 

Headquarters : 

132 Phillip Street, Sydney. 

December, 1908. 



Australian 
Lectures 

1908 



Annie Besant 

President of the Theosophhal Soeiety 



Delivered at 

Cities in the Auatralian Commonwealth during her 

Tour in the Winter of 1908. 



Sydney ■ 

Published by 

GEORGE ROBERTSON & COY. PROP. LTD. 

Fop the Australasian Section of the Theosophioal Soeiety 

Headquarters — 182 Phillip Street, Sydney. 

1908. 



AH Rights Reserved 

LOAN STACK 



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^^^J^H E Theosophical Society feels that but brief 
^^ explanation is needed in offering these 
lectures to the public of Australasia. This 
volume has been issued chiefly in response to a 
wide-spread demand from thousands of people 
who, having listened to the eloquent voice of 
one who will live long in their memories as the 
bearer of a new and encouraging interpretation 
of life, desire to possess for themselves some 
permanent record of her message, and who 
desire that friends in distant parts of this 
great Continent may also receive some echo 
of that nvessage. 



605 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2007 with funding from 

Microsoft Corporation 



http://www.archive.org/details/australianlecturOObesarich 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

Theosophy and Christianity ... ... ... 1 



Do We Live on Earth Again? . ... ... 26 



Life After Death ... . .. ... 55 



The Power of Thought ... ... ... ... 80 



The Guardians of Humanity .. ... 110 



Nature's Finer Forces ... ... ... ... 138 



The Theosophical Society — Branches and Activities 



Theosophy and Christianity 

In speaking to you on this subject I may, perhaps, 
preface my remarks with a statement as to the position 
which is held by Theosophy towards any religion, and 
not only towards Christianity. Theosophy, which is the 
Ancient Wisdom on which all the religions of the world 
without exception are founded, has not, and cannot have, 
any quarrel with any. Nor, as we consider that every 
religion, in its own country and among its own people, 
is the natural way in which that people expresses its 
method of searching for God, can we in this view ask 
anyone to leave one religion for another, endeavour in 
any fashion to proselytise, or carry on what is called 
missionary work. In coming into the Theosophical 
Society, a man does not leave his own religion, does not 
quit his own Church or religious community, is not 
asked to change his faith, is not asked to renounce his 
creed. Within the limits of the Theosophical Society 
we have people of every religion which is known to the 
world. Members of the Roman Catholic faith make the 
majority of our Italian and PVench Sections; members 
of the Church of England and of Nonconformist bodies 
the majority of the members of our British Section; 
members of the Scottish Churches — both the Episco- 

(1) n 



2 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

palian and the Presbyterian — are members of our Society 
in Scotland; and over in America all the various Non- 
conformist sects, as well as those of the older Churches, 
find welcome within the limits of the Society, without 
challenge and without question. In India, where all the 
great religions find their representatives, we have Chris- 
tians and Hebrews, Parsis and Mussulmans, Hindus and 
Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs, all meeting on the platform 
of brotherhood, and none seeking to take away his bro- 
ther's faith, however much he may prefer his own. 

That, then, is our position. That which we seek after 
is Truth, and we do not believe that truth is confined 
to any one religion, or to any special sect. Over the 
whole world searchers after truth are found in all the 
great religions which console man during life and encour- 
age him in the hour of death. And, therefore, in speak- 
ing to you, in anything that I may say, I have no desire 
in any fashion to weaken the hold of Christianity on 
any who profess that faith. On the contrary, I have 
known many cases where men and women, puzzled with 
the problems of existence, unable to solve the difficulties 
of human life within the limits of the Churches, were 
leaving the Churches and abandoning Christianity, but 
came back to it when they found the rational explana- 
tions that Theosophy offered of the doctrines which had 
repelled them. We do not empty the Churches. On 
the contrary, we bring back to them many of the intelli- 
gent and intellectual who have slipped away from them 
because of the narrow and crude presentment of many a 
Christian doctrine. We ask people to be more spiritual, 
to be more liberal, to be more generous towards those 
with whom they do not agree. We endeavour to spread 



THEOSOPHY AND CHRISTIANITY. 3 

peace among rival creeds, and to serve every religion in 
its own country and among its own people. 

That, then, is our general position. With regard to 
any one religion, we try, when we come specially into 
contact with it, to throw a light on its difficulties, to 
explain obscure problems, to show its relationship to the 
other religions of the world, to consider its hold on the 
intellect and on the heart, and finally to supply to any 
religion any of its original teachings which in the course 
of time, by the ignorance of peoples, it has lost, to help 
that religion to recover the jewels it has lost, and to make 
its ring of doctrines perfect by recovering the forgotten 
or the submerged. 

Now, just as that is our position towards each religion 
in turn, so necessarily is it our position towards Chris- 
tianity. We see at the present time some disadvantages 
under which it seems to us the faith of Christ is labour- 
ing. We see that during the last century, and especially 
during the last half-century, a very, very large number of 
the more intellectual and the learned in Western countries 
have left the Churches. We see, as we turn over Church 
papers and Nonconformist papers, that they are always 
complaining of the lessening influence of their particular 
form of Christianity. Above all, they complain that 
while very many women come to their places of worship, 
men are apt to be conspicuous by their absence. We 
notice, also, that they complain that the manual labour 
classes are very little found in touch with the churches 
and chapels, and so on. And we cannot help thinking, 
anywhere where that is the case, that there is something 
lacking, not in the religion itself, but in the presentment 
of that religion to the minds and hearts of those who 



4 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

ought to be its people. Looking at it in this way, we ask 
ourselves : "May it not be possible that Theosophy may 
bring to Christianity some new reinforcement, some help, 
which will restore its sway over the mind of the philo- *^ 
sopher as well as over the mind of the more uncultivated 
and less thoughtful man? Is it not possible that in the 
way Christianity is put, having in view the growing intel- 
ligence, the growing conscience of the time, there may 
be some things that shock the conscience and some things 
that outrage the intelligence? May it not be that it has 
been a great mistake, that chiefly among the so-called 
Protestant communities since the time of the Reforma- 
tion, religion, the Christian religion, has been brought 
down too much to one level, and that a low one?" You 
continually find it stated, even by the clergy, ministers 
of the Churches, that their object is that all they say 
shall be intelligible to the least cultivated amongst their 
hearers, that religion ought to be easy, that it ought to 
be intelligible to the man of smallest knowledge, of least 
education. And it is said to be the pride of the modern 
Christian, not of the older, that the most ignorant man 
can understand all that Christianity has to teach. Now, 
that is not true. If it were true, it would be the knell 
of Christianity. For no religion can afford to leave the 
thoughtful and the cultured, the philosopher and the 
metaphysician, with nothing to be said to them. The 
form of belief that suits the peasant, the ignorant and 
uncultured man, is a form that must inevitably repel the 
thoughtful, the artistic, the cultured, and the intellectual. 
Why should the noblest subject on earth be brought down 
to the level which is that of the child and the ignorant? 
I am not going to say that the child and the ignorant 



THEOSOPHY AND CHRISTIANITY. 5 

should be neglected. I admit that every religion worthy 
the name has as much to give to the child and the 

^. ignorant as those narrow minds are able to receive. But 
I refuse to say that the Water of Life must only be poured 
into the thimble, and not into the larger vessel of the 

. trained intelligence and the opened spiritual nature. You 
have no right to alienate knowledge while you cater for 
those who are ignorant. By all means give them that 
which will brighten their lives; by all means give them 
that which will illuminate, alleviate, and console; but 
do not deny to the very flower of your generation that 
you have anything to give them which they alone are 
capable of receiving. For it was not so in the elder 
days. In the early days Christianity had not only its 
little children, not only the sick who were in need of 
medicine, but also its great philosophers, its mighty 
doctors of the Science of the Spirit, its deep conceptions 
for the highly cultivated, its profound mysteries for the 
spiritual man. That cannot be a matter of question to 
anyone who knows the literature of the early Church. 
Nor can it be a matter of question even to the careful 
reader of the New Testament. It was St. Paul himself, 
one of the greatest teachers that the Church has pro- 
duced, who stated : " I speak wisdom among those that 
are perfect;" St. Paul who declared that he had fed 
them with milk as babes in their early stage, but that 
they ought to be ready now for something more than 
children's food; St. Paul who, when he was speaking to 
one of the early Bishops, St. Timothy, reminded him of 
the wisdom in which he had been instructed, and told 
him to impart it also to men who were wisely chosen. 
For babes in the Word, certainly the milk that nourishes ; 



6 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

but for the perfect, the wisdom which illuminates. And 
why should modern Christianity deny to those who car 
understand it the great mysteries of Christianity, and 
only give the milk for the babes, and refuse to the 
grown-up Christian the nutriment necessary for the 
growth in him of the spiritual life? Why has it ceased 
to ** speak wisdom among them that are perfect"? 

And that phrase, ** The perfect," is a phrase upon 
which I want for a moment to dilate. It is a very well- 
known phrase, at least among very large numbers of men 
— the perfect, the perfecting, the making perfect — and 
it is now, and always has been, connected with what is 
called " initiation," to which the profane, as they are 
sometimes called, are not admitted, but only those who 
are ready for the mysteries which are given. Now I 
know, of course, that in these allusions I am alluding 
to knowledge which has largely vanished, to empty ves- 
sels which are not now filled with the deep knowledge 
of ancient truths. But the very existence of what is 
called Freemasonry amongst you, with its initiatory cere- 
monies, with its exclusion of the unilluminated, with its 
gradually building up to the high stage of the Master, 
with its perfecting in yet higher degrees, is all a shadow 
that has come down to modern days of things that were 
realities in the early days of Christianity, those mys- 
teries which are the very root of every esoteric religion, 
and the loss of which takes away from the religion much 
of the value which it ought to have for its higher 
disciples. And coming to that phrase, " the perfect," 
which St. Paul used, how many other allusions there are 
in his epistles to these gradations of Christian know- 
ledge. Over and over again he speaks of these hidden 



THEOSOPHY AND CHRISTIANITY. 7 

things; over and over again he makes allusions which 
only the initiated can understand in their full value. 

Pass, however, from St. Paul and his many dark say- 
ings, as is said by one of his fellow-Apostles, and look 
at the Church in the days of its great power, when it 
was taught by those who had first-hand knowledge, and 
not only by those who spoke by a book or tradition. Do 
you know that in the early Church no man was allowed 
to hold the office of Bishop, unless he had been initiated 
into the Mysteries of Jesus, that no man was allowed to 
take that high office of the Shepherd of the flock unless 
he had first-hand knowledge of the truths it was his 
duty to proclaim? Read the statements of those early 
Bishops of the Church. See how one of them declared 
that they were *' taught by angels." See how some of 
the opening words of initiation into the Mysteries were 
given, how the conditions of that admission were laid 
down, how it was proclaimed by the Hierarch who 
opened the door of those Mysteries that only those might 
come forward to be admitted who ''for a long time had 
been conscious of no transgression," and who were com- 
petent for the teaching of the Word. See how he 
offered knowledge to those who were fit to receive it, and 
summoned such to enter the Mysteries, wherein, it is said, 
" is given the teaching in secret by Jesus to His disciples." 

Now, what has become of that great teaching Christ 
gave to His own disciples, His own apostles — the teach- 
ing which was not given to the outside public who came 
to listen to Him? He said: " To them I speak in par- 
ables, to you it is given to know the mysteries of the 
kingdom of God." And we find in the records of the 
early Church that these secret teachings were handed 



8 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

down, not committed to writing, but handed down from 
teacher to pupil, from mouth to ear, as it was said — 
always by word of mouth. They were handed down cen- 
tury after century, so that as late as the time of Origen 
we find him alluding to them, and declaring tliat the 
Church possessed in its treasures the secret teachings 
which Jesus had given ** within the house" to His 
apostles, and not outside to the mass of the listening 
people. Where are they now? What has become of 
them, of those inner teachings which were given in the 
Mysteries and have made a knowledge of God possible 
to the human soul? On this you may turn over page 
after page of information in those early writings of the 
great teachers of the Church. Remember how Origen 
declared that while the Church had medicine for the 
sinner, it was not on sinners that the Church of Christ 
could be built up. He declared that what the Church 
needed in order that it might be strong were what he 
called the Gnostics. But where are the Christian GnoS' 
tics now? 

That word has a very definite meaning. The deepest 
was the knowledge of the superphysical and the Supreme 
— not the teaching about them, not the talking about 
them, not the believing in them, but the direct individual 
knowledge. The Gnostic was the man who knew, not 
the man who believed. The mass of the Christian con- 
gregation were believers; the teachers and leaders were 
the Gnostics, the knowers. And they only dropped out 
of the Christian Church with the decay of learning 
which accompanied the decay of the Roman Empire and 
the Eastern Byzantine Empire that took up the work, 
after the decay of that knowledge, after the incursions 



THEOSOPHY AND CHRISTIANITY, 9 

of barbarians swept over Europe and gave ignorance in 
the place of knowledge. Then, and then only, was it 
that an ignorant majority declared the Gnostics to be 
heretics, the knowers to be outside the pale of orthodox 
Christianity. Since that time Christianity has lost its 
power, though not all its knowledge. No longer do 
you find among them those who have the " signs of an 
apostle." No longer do you find among them the power 
to heal, the power to open the eyes of the blind, to make 
the lame walk. All these powers are gone with the 
knowledge which was cast out of the Church in the days 
of its ignorance, and only here and there in the darkness 
shines out the light of some Saint, who by knowledge 
had rewon the powers, the solitary infrequent shining of 
the Spirit which had found its way to the light, where 
the official guardians had closed the doors against it. 
And so you find gradually the knowledge came into 
fewer and fewer hands, and a priesthood grew up who 
were not the leaders of men to knowledge and the teachers 
of the Way, but who rather claimed to have the 
right to bar the way themselves, and claimed authority 
rather because they believed than because they knew. 
And so more and more heresy arose, and when science 
came back to Europe, the Church opposed it. And so 
the great gulf began to be widened between knowledge 
and religion, between science and Christianity — a gulf 
that has grown wider and wider as the years have rolled 
on, until there is danger, though a danger that I hope 
has passed, that the intellect of Christianity shall be 
divorced from its faith, and that only those who do not 
care to understand shall crowd the seats of Christian 
Churches. A change is coming over Christendom, a 



10 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

marked and wonderful change. Contrast the Christen- 
dom of to-day with the Christendom of 50 years ago. 
See how liberal thought has grown. See how new inter- 
pretations of doctrines are becoming current. See how 
the crude, literal interpretation has disappeared, or is to 
be found amongst the more uneducated people only, and 
how loftier thought and nobler spirituality, a deeper 
understanding of the great teachings of Christianity, is 
spreading through the Churches and making everywhere 
its voice to be heard. 

Let us see whether in this movement that we call 
Theosophy there is not something of value for Christians 
in its dealing with Christian doctrines, and whether, in 
fact, that growing liberality is not very largely the out- 
come of the spreading of Theosophy within the Church 
itself. For up and down through the country now we 
hear Theosophy preached from the pulpits. Up and 
down through Christendom we find clergy and priests 
who are drinking at the fountain of the ancient know- 
ledge, and are beginning again to give it to their people. 
Mystic Christianity is coming back. Spiritual interpreta- 
tions are everywhere being offered, and the crude liter- 
alism that killeth is dying, while the spirit that giveth 
life is making itself felt throughout the Churches. To 
see how Theosophy deals with this, let us take one or 
two doctrines and look at them from the theosophical 
standpoint, and see how a Christian may grasp that fur- 
ther teaching and find his own truth become more beauti- 
ful and more inspiring than it was in his narrower days. 

Let us take, for instance, the great doctrine of the 
Atonement. That has gone through very many stages in 
the Christian Church, as every student of Christianity 



THEOSOPHY AND CHRISTIANITY. 11 

knows full well. In the very early days of Christianity 
it took on a very peculiar form, or peculiar from the 
standpoint of the modern student. It was not possible in 
the days which were near the days of the Christ — that 
Revealer of God, so full of tenderest compassion, of all- 
embracing love — while His personal influence was over 
the minds of His followers, to regard the Father, whose 
love He revealed, as a wrathful Judge and condemner of 
the whole human race. It was not possible to those more 
spiritual Christians to regard the sacrifice of the Divine 
Son as a sacrifice offered to propitiate the wrath of an 
angry Father. There is no trace of that through all the 
literature of the early Church. On the contrary, the 
sacrifice of death that was offered was held to be a sac- 
rifice for the ransoming of man from the power of Satan, 
and the argument that you may read at leisure, if you 
desire, is that God, being just, could not fail to give 
even Satan his due, and that as man had fallen under 
the power of Satan and become a bond-slave of the 
Devil, it was necessary to ransom him justly from the 
Lord of Death into whose hands he had fallen, and so 
Christ sacrificed Himself and gave His life, a ransom for 
many, after death going down into the domain of the 
ancient foe to rescue from him the myriads of men who 
had passed away before the coming of the Christ, and 
redeeming them from the hell that had engulfed them, 
He led them up into Paradise as a reward won by His 
own sacrifice, paid in His own death. That was said to 
be the Atonement, and why His death was necessary. It 
was a ransoming of men from Satan, to redeem those 
under death's power. But gradually that view, which is 
still on record, as you may read for yourself, passed out 



12 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

of the mind of Christendom, largely, I think, because 
men grew more cruel in their ignorance, and gradually, 
instead of a loving Father revealed by the Christ, there 
grew up the terrible figure of an angry God. And so 
you come to that mark in the history of the Atonement, 
the famous work of Anselm the Archbishop, "The 
Wrath of God to Man." That is the title of the book 
— in Latin, of course — that the teaching, then, of the 
Church. And so Christ became a sacrifice to God, who 
sent Him to redeem the world. As that idea grew and 
flourished, and it became the doctrine of the Atonement 
in the Christian Church, spreading everywhere and intlu- 
encing all men's m;nds, it became deeply rooted as an 
essential teaching of Christianity. If you take the time 
of the so-called Reformation, there is nothing to choose 
between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism in the 
way they put this particular doctrine. Luther, Melanch- 
thon, and Calvin put it as harshly as had Anselm the 
Archbishop. If you trace it down these different lines 
you will find it keeps the same idea of a substitutionary 
sacrifice, which had become legal, not spiritual — a legal 
substitution, not a spiritual identity of nature. And 
coming down even to the days when those of my own age 
were young, you will find Bishops of the Church of Eng- 
land, teachers of all the religious communities, preaching 
this same doctrine of substitutionary Atonement, and of 
the wrath of God pacified by the sacrifice of Christ. 

But within the bosom of the Christian Church itself 
rose revolt against that doctrine. The note was struck 
by the Broad Church Party, as it was called in the days 
of my youth. You have a very beautiful book coming out 
of the bosom of the Presbyterian Church in Scotland, 



THEOSOPHY AND CHRISTIANITY. 13 

" The Nature of the Atonement," by Macleod Campbell, 
in which he describes the Atonement as meaning the 
self-revelation of God to man in the person of the man 
Jesus, and the showing to God what men might be in the 
perfect manhood of the great Teacher — a step in advance, 
getting rid of the idea of sacrifice being needed to pro- 
pitiate the changeless love which rules the worlds. From 
that time onward the doctrine has changed in its aspect. 
Different sects of Christians put it forward in different 
ways, and only rarely now do you find the old legal sub- 
stitution, the old idea that the wrath of God needs the 
sacrifice of his own Son to quench it. Still, it is incor- 
porated in the Articles of the Church of England, and 
in other confessions of Christian Churches. 

What view would Theosophy put forward as the true 
view of the Atonement? Theosophy would say that 
Christ symbolises a certain stage of the unfolding of the 
Divine Spirit in man, a stage at which unity is practi- 
cally realised — when the Spirit in all forms is known as 
one. It would say that He whom you call the Christ, 
having reached that stage of utter unity with God and 
man alike, it became possible for Him to share wath man 
His purity and to share with man man's weaknesses, by 
virtue of a perfect identity of nature. By a perfect 
humanity and a realised divinity, that union that He 
knew and realised, He was able to be one with His 
brethren in human form. As the sun shining in the 
heaven far above all the obstructions of earth can pour 
down his life and heat into many a garden and many a 
yard shut in from other gardens and other yards by the 
walls that obstruct on the surface of the earth, but all 
open to the light of heaven, as the sun can pour his light 



14 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

unhindered into all these receptacles separate from each 
other down here, so can the Son, so can Christ, pour 
down His life, His purity. His perfect humanity, into 
all the separate forms of human beings, separate to each 
other, but open to Him in the glory of His unity, the 
perfection of His life. We are separate the one from 
the other; yes. Barriers are between us, and separateness 
to us is more real than unity. But Christ has grown 
above all the barriers and looks down alike into all the 
forms, can pour His spirit into them, His purity. His 
love — can help them to be what He is, by virtue of that 
unobstructed communication. He not only shares His 
purity with them, but also shares their sin. That is the 
greatness of the truly spiritual nature. The spiritual 
man who has reached the stage of a Christ cannot separ- 
ate himself from the lowest, vilest criminal. There is 
one spirit in the criminal and in the Son. He cannot 
reach full perfection while one human being remains 
sinful. And so it is truly laid down in the Christian 
Scripture : " He made Him to be Sin for us." In the 
light of that mighty unity there is no ascribing of the 
sin of one to the righteousness of another, but a perfect 
sharing alike for all. That is the glory of the Christ. He 
sees no difference ; He knows no separateness. He has be- 
come one with all humanity. His righteousness theirs, 
and their imperfections His. Truly is it a wonderful 
Atonement, a making one of higher and lower; and it 
makes oneness by lifting the manhood into divinity, mak- 
ing pure all who realise the oneness. But to us the 
Atonement is not necessarily possible only to one Christ. 
He is the first-born among many brethren. This is a 
point where many of the Christians w^ould differ from 



THEOSOPHY AND CHRISTIANITY. 15 

US. There is many a Christian man to-day who would 
accept that view of the Atonement, and realise that it 
means identity of nature and not substitution. But there 
are only some who are willing to admit that that high 
rank of spiritual greatness can be reached by more than 
one who is at once man and God. The greatness of the 
conception that all men are divine staggers them, and 
feeling their own weakness, their own imperfection, their 
own sinfulness, it comes as a shock for us to say to 
them : ** But you also one day will be a Christ." But if 
it were not so, of what value would be the coming of 
these mighty ones, in whom God is made manifest in the 
flesh? For if They were different in Their nature, what 
help would Their example be to us? Were They not 
identical with us in manhood and divinity, how could 
They elevate Their brother man to God? The guarantee 
that you have it within you, the promise of your own 
future Christhood, lies in that command breathed to 
His disciples by Christ Himself : *' Be ye therefore per- 
fect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.'* Those 
words cannot fail. If Christ be indeed all that we be- 
lieve Him to be. His lips could not speak a falsehood. 
His command could not remain an empty form of words. 
Nothing less than Divine perfection is the future of each 
one of you. How quickly will you win it? Ah, that is 
within your own power. How swift or how slow your 
climbing, that is for your own will to decide, for the 
Divine Will never forces the human will, which is part 
of itself, and that separate will must realise its unity 
before perfection can be consciously realised. But none 
the less, it lies in the future for every child of man ; none 
the less, that perfect will shall not remain unaccom- 



16 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

plished, and despite our feebleness and our folly, despite 
our pettishness and our childishness, we are none the 
less sons of the immortal Love, to grow up to that per- 
fection of Christhood, and thence to rise to the perfection 
of God Himself. In that way does Theosophy look at 
this great doctrine of the Atonement. That there is 
some mighty truth in it, even the man who most rebels 
against its cruder form ought to be willing to acknow- 
ledge, for it has wrought so much of inspiration, has 
brought out so much love in the human heart, has proved 
so inspiring to so many noble souls, that you may be sure 
there is a spiritual kernel within the husk of the crude 
and literal interpretation. 

Pass from that and take another doctrine, that of 
Prayer. Now, what is prayer? Many definitions of it 
have been given, and it ranges from the smallest physical 
petition put up by a starving man to the highest contem- 
plation of the loftiest saint entranced with the beauty of 
divinity. The whole of that conception is covered over 
by the one word, *Trayer," and so confusion has arisen 
with regard to it, and many attacks crudely made. None 
the less is prayer a mighty force, a thing to be understood 
and utilised. Prayers which are simply petitions for 
physical things are the lowest grade of prayer, but none 
the less may such prayers be answered without any inter- 
ference with law. Some of you may remember how, 20 
or 30 years ago, scientific men who were then leading 
European thought declared that prayer must be futile 
because it was an attempt to change the laws of nature. 
But how is it an attempt to change the laws of nature — 
even a petition, say, for daily bread? The reason why 
that was thought was because popular Protestantism had 



THEOSOPHY AND CHRISTIANITY. 17 

omitted the whole world of life except the human life 
at one end and the Divine life at the other, and a great 
gulf between. They had done away with all those innu- 
merable intelligences who occupy the ladder of existence 
from the lowest to the God. They saw nothing save 
lives on the physical world and the supreme Life, and so 
naturally, seeing nothing between them, they thought that 
every prayer, if it reached at all, must reach the Supreme 
Will, and thus was trying to change that changeless Will 
and alter the laws of Nature which are an expression of 
Himself. But that is not so. There is nothing more of 
breaking the law in prayer than there is in the child who 
asks something of its father and mother. You do not 
feel that the law of nature has been broken, if the child 
asks you to give it something which it cannot reach for 
itself. You do not go into long scientific arguments, as 
many of my Free Thought friends have done — and as I . 
did in the early days — ^in order to show that if rain were 
given in answer to a prayer, you would have to change 
the whole course of events from the beginning of the 
globe down to the present day. Sir Oliver Lodge has 
answered that very well. He said : " You do not alter 
a law of nature when you ask the gardener to water your 
garden." Why is it breaking a law of nature when you 
ask the higher intelligence to pour down rain on a thirsty 
soil? It is not the breaking of a law, but the utilising 
of a law which is not under the control of the human in- 
telligence, but is under the control of higher intelligences, 
call them what name you like — angels, or anything else. 
The point to realise is that there are beings above us 
who are not yet God Himself, endless grades of super- 
human intelligences, who administer the laws of nature, 



18 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

who influence the lives of men. They have slipped too 
much out of the sight of the ordinary Protestant. The 
ordinary Roman Catholic has never, of course, let go his 
hold on the doctrine of angels. No religion that I know 
of in the world is without this doctrine as a practical 
daily fact except certain Protestant communities who 
have lost sight of it merely by reaction. For no other 
reason, for it is the most rational doctrine in the world, 
that there are beings around you who may be appealed 
to and ma^ give help, that when the prayer goes up to 
God those who are His ministers and His servants are 
the immediate agents by whom that prayer is answered, and 
that it is true and not false that prayer has a great power 
even in the physical affairs of man. It is a utilising of the 
laws of consciousness, of the powers of thought, which 
are now being investigated so largely. Those who know 
how to utilise thought, know that it is not at all neces- 
sary to put it into the form of prayer in order to bring 
about that which they desire to achieve. A prayer for 
physical needs is only useful as " prayer," because it 
helps to concentrate the mind, to bring out the strenuous 
action of the human soul behind the prayer, to appeal 
to some outside intelligences for help, as the father or 
mother is appealed to by the child. All these things 
are within the laws of nature. They are all uses of the 
laws of nature. Those who know more of law than 
we do, who are stronger than we are, can utilise laws of 
nature which are for the most part beyond our grasp for 
the present; but as we also learn the power of thought 
and the control of nature, we bring about by our own 
motion exactly the same results as are brought to you 
by prayers for physical things. 



THEOSOPHY AND CHRISTIANITY. 19 

To pass away from the lowest type of prayer, let us 
see what prayer is in its higher forms. It is the neces- 
sity of the spiritual life. It is the opening up of the 
whole nature to higher things. There are always play- 
ing upon you the love and wisdom of the Supreme God, 
bathing you in their atmosphere as you are bathed in the 
air around you. But you can shut your windows against 
the air, you can shut your doors against the sunlight, and 
neither sunlight nor air can enter through the closed 
window and the closed door. They are always there, 
and all you have to do is to open the window and to open 
the door, and then the light and the air will stream in 
and give you light and help. So with prayer. It is 
the opening of the windows of the spirit; and it is the 
throwing wide open the doors of the spiritual nature; 
it is putting yourself into a receptive attitude, and hold- 
ing up empty hands to the everlasting fulness, which 
can fill them with its blessings and its life. That is 
the value of prayer, and everyone who strives to lead 
the spiritual life, as they develop the spiritual power, 
knows the priceless value of the prayer that opens up 
avenues between man and God, or, to speak more accu- 
rately, the avenues between the God within you and the 
God without. That is prayer in the higher sense. One 
reason why it makes a man nobler is because you inevi- 
tably become that which you think. As you contem- 
plate Divine purity, Divine wisdom. Divine love, those 
qualities reproduce themselves in your nature, and 
awaken divinity within you, sleeping in the innermost of 
your being. So do not let any crude scientific arguments 
shake your hold on the great reality of prayer. Realise 
that it means keeping open the avenues between earth 



20 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

and heaven, between the lower and the higher life, that 
although prayers may often be childish, even then they 
are not cast out by the Supreme Heart. For what 
mother leaves her child forlorn because the infant lips 
cannot articulate clearly, but can only babble with baby 
tongue the wants that it craves to have supplied. As 
the mother heart to the child, so is the Divine Heart to 
all His children, and even the broken accents of the 
infant bring back response from that Universal Love. 
So, prayer is not one of the things to be cast aside in 
your growth. It is a thing to raise, to purify, to make 
nobler and more spiritual, to make the transforming 
change of man into God, to make you after the likeness 
that in meditation you adore. 

But has Theosophy nothing to say to Christianity 
except explanations and defences against attack of its 
own great doctrines? It seems to us that Theosophy has 
some other work that it can do for the many Christian 
Churches, and that is to give back to them something 
of what they have lost — not only what I spoke of in the 
beginning, the bringing about a restoration of the great 
Mysteries which are necessary for the triumph of 
Christianity — but also to bring back the way to the gain- 
ing of knowledge, and one or two doctrines that have 
slipped out of sight. 

I do not want this evening to argue with you as to the 
great doctrine of reincarnation, as I have done that 
elsewhere, but what I would urge upon you is that this 
part of the Christian heritage is not a doctrine that you 
should take from Hindu or Buddhist, not a doctrine that 
you should borrow from Greek, Roman, or Egyptian, 
but a doctrine that belongs to you in your own religion. 



THEOSOPHY AND CHRISTIANITY. 21 

It is part of the early teaching of the Christian Church. 
It has been taught in many forms, this pre-existence and 
re-birth of the soul. It has been given in many different 
ways to the world, and there were many ways in the 
early Christian Church in which the doctrine was spoken 
of and taught. Tertullian puts it in a curious way. He 
speaks of many deaths and many resurrections, and 
makes that phrase in the Christian Creed, ''The resur- 
rection of the body " to apply to reincarnation, that each 
man rises over and over again in a new body. He 
argues in a well-known passage that after a while we 
shall escape from the repeated deaths and repeated 
resurrections, and attain to the final resurrection — the 
immortal life. So that famous verse in the Book of the 
Revelations some thinkers apply to the doctrine of rein- 
carnation, w^hen it is declared of him that overcometh, 
" I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and 
he shall come out no more." You find that regarded as 
meaning not going out again into life by reincarnation, 
but a remaining for ever consciously in the Divine 
Presence. So, again, you find Origen arguing that you 
could not justify the justice of God with regard to Jacob, 
and Esau, unless you admitted that they had lived before, 
and that in those previous lives they had shown the 
qualities which drew in one case the Divine blessing, 
and in the other case the Divine displeasure. And so 
on, through one writer after another, showing you how 
this doctrine is part of the faith once delivered to the 
Saints. True, it fell out of the greater part of the 
Church; and with that came all the teachings against 
which the modern conscience has revolted. It is not 
only important as a doctrine by itself. It is import- 



22 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

ant also in the many results that inevitably follow its 
acceptance or rejection. If, for instance, reincarna- 
tion be the view of the Christian Church, what effect 
has that on hell and on heaven? They become exactly 
what they used to be — temporary conditions ; and so they 
become rational instead of irrational. 

As to the doctrine of hell, which in modern Christi- 
anity has become a doctrine of everlasting torture, 
against which the conscience of Christianity revolts, that 
monstrous doctrine that in this little life of ours — so 
brief, so small — we can deserve an everlasting condition 
of torture, unutterable, irremediable — not only needless, 
but purposeless, with nothing to come out of it, no re- 
sults, no fruit — very few Christian people believe in that 
to-day. They cannot believe in it, for they feel that no 
man is vile enough to be punished with everlasting hell. 
If you are frank and honest with yourselves, you know 
also that none of you deserve an everlasting condition of 
bliss. You are not big enough for it. Your crimes are 
not big enough for hell, nor your virtues for heaven. 
You have to learn. You have to grow. You have 
to become very much bigger than you are, much more 
grown up — not the children that we see around us every- 
where, with your greatest pleasures in sport of every 
sort, with the petty ambitions of ordinary men. These 
are all toys for children, not for everlasting spirits. 
What has heaven to give you? How can you say you 
are ready for it? Out of the horror of an everlasting 
hell the revolt has grown, and that horror is only a re- 
sult of losing hold of the great doctrine of reincarna- 
tion. For, mind, there is a truth in hell. The man 
who keeps on doing evil must suffer for the evil he does. 



THEOSOPHY AND CHRISTIANITY. 23 

That is the law. You cannot get away from the results 
of your own actions. You cannot, if you are a drunkard 
all your life, change by a moment's repentance into a 
spirit fit for the Kingdom of Heaven. If you have 
committed a murder you cannot make peace with God 
with the shadow of the gallows over you, and go to the 
gallows saying you are sure of God's forgiveness. There 
is no way out of that, if you believe in hell. You must 
make all these excuses to get people out of it. How- 
ever wicked a man is, we are bound to make some escape 
for him, rather than say he has gone into the misery 
that never will end. If you believe in reincarnation 
you say that the suffering that follows evil, and is its 
inevitable result, is remediable, educative, and purifying, 
so that the man is the better, nobler, and purer for it. 
Heaven becomes rational when it is temporary, and when 
in that heaven you can become better than when you 
left the earth. If it be a time when you can change into 
faculty all the experiences you gathered here, then 
heaven becomes a rational condition of existence. Rein- 
carnation makes it possible, inevitable. When you come 
to think of it, these two absurd doctrines of an ever- 
lasting heaven and an everlasting hell are both utterly 
opposed to the belief in reincarnation. " You have 
only got one life. You must make the most of it. You 
must try to cram everything into it ;" whereas, if you 
have many lives and plenty of time, you can build up 
that perfection to which you aspire. Hence by bring- 
ing back to Christendom the doctrine of reincarnation, 
we destroy the everlasting hell and the everlasting heaven, 
and give back to human life that strength and that 
dignity which come out of the knowledge of an eterual 



24 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

State. What we call the law of Karma, the law of cause 
and effect, is put very well by St. Paul in the Epistle 
to the Galatians : ** Be not deceived, God is not mocked. 
Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." That 
is what we call the doctrine of Karma, that every man 
reaps exactly as he sows. If he wants to reap happiness, 
he must sow happiness; if he wants to reap purity, he 
must sow pure thoughts, pure words, pure deeds; if he 
wants to reap nobility, he must sow noble thoughts. 
Then he will come to have them. How can you reconcile 
that doctrine of every man reaping as he sows with the 
doctrine of a substitutionary atonement? In this we 
can appeal to the Christian's own Scriptures, and throw 
them back upon the teachings of their own great apostle. 
In recalling this doctrine of Christianity, we are giving 
them, as I said, their own back again. For just as 
sometimes family jewels get put away, covered with 
dust, and forgotten in some old coffer, or some hidden 
chamber, so many of the jewels of their own Christian 
faith, their own heritage, their own property, have be- 
come lost and laid away, and all the Theosophists need 
do is to bring them out of the place where they have lain 
forgotten, wipe off the dust of ages, and give you back 
your own. That is tne Thcosophist's duty. That is what 
he has learnt — that his mission to the Christian world. 

And so I come back in the end to the point I put lo 
you at the beginning, that we do not ask you to leave 
your faith, that we do not desire to win you from your 
allegiance to the Christ, that we do not desire to take 
away from you one doctrine that has helped, alleviated, 
and consoled. We only desire to deepen your know- 
ledge, to widen your thought, to make more real your 



THEOSOPHY AND CHRISTIANITY. 25 

Spirituality, so that you may give to the world what 
Christianity has to give, that you may drop the bigotry 
and fanaticism, the narrow-mindedness, which are ob- 
stacles in the spreading of the spirit of the Christ, and 
that you may realise that those who, under many names, 
and in many religions, worship the spirit of truth and 
love, are your brothers, not your enemies, and although 
you may call them heathen, they are in truth the children 
of God, and share in the worship of the Christ. 



Do We Live on Earth Again ? 

A few days ago I received a request that in the lecture 
I was about to give I would try to explain the puzzle 
of life. The writer remarks : " Life is largely chaotic, 
puzzling, topsy-turvy, almost hopeless. What grounds 
are there for thinking that the next, or any other suc- 
cession of lives, will be any better, more orderly, pur- 
poseful, just, or right? If the vital principle persist, may 
it not be amid conditions and surroundings quite as 
blundering, unequal, unfair, and abortive, as the present 
existence is?" When I read that postcard I thought 
that when I was speaking on the subject of Re- 
incarnation, I might very well try, in fact must inevitably 
try, to answer the question which is there propounded, 
for the injustices, the inequalities, the apparently pur- 
poseless sufferings of life are the things that drive many 
thoughtful and intelligent people into scepticism and 
despair. If I can succeed in showing you to-night that, 
according to the most ancient and the most philosophical 
view, life is not such a hopeless chaos as too many be- 
lieve it to be to-day, if I can show you that there is an 
underlying principle, that for every man and woman 
there is hope and not despair, then, to some extent at 

(26) 



do WE LIVE ON EARTH AGAIN? 27 

least, I shall have answered the question propounded, 
and shall, perchance, set some of you on the road which 
makes life intelligible, which shows the plan of evolu- 
tion and enables all to understand something of their 
own destiny, and something of the possibilities of human 
life. 

Now there is a tendency among people, inevitably, to 
regard the views of their own time, and of those who 
immediately surround them, the views of the religion into 
which they were born, as being the only reasonable view 
of life. We are all content to be more or less what is 
called " parochial," to think that the public opinion of 
our time is the only public opinion worth considering, 
to think that the views natural to us and to our nation 
are the only views that reasonable men should consider; 
and it is because I am aware of the dead weight of this 
pressure of prejudice that I would open what I have to 
say to you to-night by reminding you that the modern 
view of human life, in its narrowness and its limitation, 
is a view that has only been accepted for some hundreds 
of years out of the many, many thousands during which 
humanity has thought and laboured. There is no 
philosophical doctrine which has behind it what I have 
sometimes called so magnificent an intellectual ancestry 
as the doctrine of reincarnation; none for which there is 
such weight of the opinion of the wisest of men; none, 
as Max Muller declared, on which the greatest philoso- 
phers of humanity have been so thoroughly in accord. I 
do not put it to you that you ought to accept any teach- 
ing because of the weight of authority of the great minds 
that have regarded it as true, because I thoroughly admit 
that until a doctrine approves itself to your own intelli- 



28 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

gence and conscience it is not true for you, however true 
it may be from another's standpoint. It is not then that 
I want to impose upon you the weight of authority, but 
only to win your careful listening and thoughtful atten- 
tion to the truths which have been endorsed by the 
greatest minds of hiunanity ; only for the sake of remind- 
ing you, as against the brief period of prejudice and 
narrowness of the time, how long the belief of reincar- 
nation has existed, and how great are the minds of those 
who have accepted it. For there is no religion, among 
all the great religions of the world, which has not built 
upon this doctrine its theory of morality and its theory 
of immortality. It does not matter to which of the great 
religions you go, you find overwhelming evidence on 
this line. I need hardly mention that most ancient re- 
ligion of Egypt, for you all know that, in the Egyptian 
creed, the whole life of man on earth, in other worlds, 
in the heavenly region, coming back again to this world, 
was traced in the minutest details, step by step. I need 
hardly remind you that in Chaldea and Assyria the same 
doctrine was taught some 9000 or 10,000 years before 
the Christian era. I might take you to China, and point 
out to you how there the same idea prevailed ; or I might 
leave the dead religions and bring you to the living, and 
remind you how in India the Hindu" faith, one of the 
most widely spread in the world, is, from beginning to 
end, moulded and shaped in its conception of human 
life by this idea of reincarnation. The same that is true 
of Hinduism is true of Buddhism. And when you have 
named those two religions you have more than half the 
inhabitants of the world to-day accepting this great 
philosophy. If you turn to a religion more familiar to 



DO WE LIVE ON EARTH AGAIN? 29 

you, that of the Hebrews, and ask the great historian 
Josephus what was the belief of the Hebrews, you will 
find how he lays it down that every soul that had not 
reached perfection had to return again to earth. Or you 
might read the story there, how, when a Jewish garrison 
was defending a citadel against overwhelming force, the 
captain of that small band of defenders, seeing that cap- 
ture and death were inevitable, cheered his soldiers to 
fight to the last until death struck them, reminding them 
that they were only passing away for a time and would 
return the nobler to earth because of their death for their 
people. I might bring you on to the time of the Christ 
Himself, and remind you how, speaking among the 
Jewish people, He took the doctrine for granted; how, 
when He spoke of John the Baptist, He reminded His 
disciples that John the Baptist was Elijah who had come 
before the coming of the Messiah; how, when He was 
asked about the blindness of a man, whether it was 
caused by his own sin or that of his parents. He did not 
say " How could a man sin before he was born?" as a 
modern Christian would assert, but answered, taking the 
possibility of pre-natal sin for granted, that that was 
not the reason of the blindness of this particular man. 
So I might lead you on from His time, and from the com- 
mon belief of the Jews, to the days of the early Church. 
I might remind you how one Christian father and bishop 
after another declared the pre-existence of the soul, and 
how Origen, the greatest and most learned of the teachers 
of Christian antiquity, declared that every soul received 
a body according to its deserts and its former actions. 
It is true, as many of you may know, that the Roman 
Catholic division of the Church Universal condemned 



30- AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

the doctrine at one of its Councils in the seventh century, 
but it was not a universal condemnation. It condemned 
the particular form in which Origen had presented it. 
but guarded itself from a general condemnation. So 
that there is nothing in the articles of faith of that 
mighty Communion which makes it against the faith for 
a Roman Catholic to accept the teaching. You find 
as you come down the centuries that some of the great 
sects against which Rome levelled her anathema as here- 
tical — such sects as the Albigenses, of whom Milton 
wrote one of the most magnificent of his sonnets, had 
preserved the ancient teaching, and had not permitted it 
to die. So other sects through the Middle Ages and 
later preserved the doctrine in their secret teaching. 
When you come still further down the centuries to the 
time of Charles II., you find the doctrine again taught in 
the Anglican Church, not only by the chaplain of the 
King, but by some of the other clergy of the Church. 
And I possess an old pamphlet, written by a clergyman 
of the English Church in that reign, in which he argues 
that this doctrine of reincarnation is part of the original 
heritage of Christianity. If you turn from that to the 
philosophers and the poets, notice how the greatest of 
them take reincarnation for granted. See how the Ger- 
man poet-philosopher Goethe taught it; how the philo- 
sophers Fichte, Lessing, Schopenhauer, follow along the 
same lines. None of you can be ignorant of Words- 
worth's great ode in which he declared: — 

** Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting, 
The soul that rises with us, our life's star, 

Hath had elsewhere its setting. 
And Cometh from afar." 



DO WE LIVE ON EARTH AGAIN? 31 

So I might point you to other poets, Robert Browning, 
Dante Gabrielle Rossetti, and many another; for 
genius has an intuition of truth to which smaller brains 
may be blind. And coming right down to our own day, 
let me remind you how Huxley declared that there is 
nothing in the analogy of Nature against reincarnation, 
but that there is very much in support of it. I have 
quoted to you Max Muller's opinion that the greatest 
philosophers had accepted it, and I ought not to omit 
from the list of those the sceptical philosopher, Hume, 
who declared that the doctrine of the pre-existence of 
the soul was the only doctrine of immortality that a 
philosopher could look at. To a similar conclusion in 
our own time came Professor McTaggart, who, after 
examining and analysing the various theories of im- 
mortality, declared that the doctrine of reincarnation was 
the most rational of them all. So that after all there is 
nothing to be ashamed of, from the intellectual stand- 
point, in accepting the doctrine. With such an ancestry 
we may surely not be too proud at least to examine what 
it has to say for itself. For the doctrine believed in by 
Pythagoras and Plato and Virgil and Ovid, and by the 
mighty host of philosophers through the ages, is surely a 
doctrine that in the chaos of the modern world deserves 
to be listened to, whether finally rejected or not. 

Now I am only going to put it to you as the most 
reasonable hypothesis, the most rational of all the 
theories of hiunan life and death, one out of three possible 
theories, and the one which best answers the demands of 
the intellect, explains the difficulties of life, and shows 
us the reason and the use of death. Now what are the 
three possible hypotheses? And if two of them are dis- 



32 - AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

proved, then the third holds the field until a more 
rational hypothesis is put forward. That is a very com- 
mon way, you know, of proving a matter, even in dealing 
with geometrical problems. Euclid is quite content, 
when he has destroyed alternative possibilities, to finish 
up with the comfortable statement that his original pro- 
position is proved. 

Now it is rather along that line that I am going. I 
am not going to pretend to you that I can prove to de- 
monstration this theory of reincarnation. Every one of 
you must do that for yourselves by the recovery of 
memory — the final proof. Short of that, I think I can 
show you it is the most rational of the three. Now the 
first theory would be the general one of scientific 
materialism, which does not admit the possibility of a 
continuing individuality in man; which regards man as 
coming into the world and going out of it once and for 
all ; which, while it declares the continuity of physical 
matter, does not acknowledge the continuity of animating 
intelligence. It regards the one life as all that we have 
— out of the darkness of birth and into the darkness of 
death. We shall look into that theory and see how far 
it explains the difficulties, the problems, which science 
itself admits; how far it is consistent with human evolu- 
tion ; how far it answers the questions inevitably addressed 
to science. Then there is the popular Western idea that 
a soul has a beginning, although it has no end, that it 
requires a body in order to come into existence, but 
that when death strikes away the body, it goes on with- 
out any further need for it — an idea which makes the 
everlasting destiny of man depend on the spending of 
this mortal life, myriads of unending ages to 



DO WE LIVE ON EARTH AGAIN? 33 

depend on the spending of the life of a few 
brief and ignorant years. We shall look at 
that theory also and see how far it satisfies the rea- 
son, how far it satisfies the conscience of man; and we 
shall have to ask how this theory deals with the question of 
a child living a few hours, a few weeks, or a few months. 
Does that brief time win for it an everlasting happiness, 
or by any possibility condemn it to an everlasting tor- 
ture? Then, having dealt with each of those, we shall 
come to the theory of reincarnation, and we shall see 
how it answers the problems that the others leave un- 
solved, and how we are forced, if we would understand 
life at all, to accept it. One of the three we must ac- 
cept — for I know of no other theory of human existence 
— and we shall see how we are pressed by irrefutable 
logic to accept the doctrine of the pre-existence of the 
soul and its independence of the physical body. 

Let me take first the scientific view, putting it as clearly 
as I can. Science, as we know, declares the continuity 
of matter, one form producing another, and so on and 
on, and on. The theory which Darwin put to the 
scientific world tried to connect with the continuity of 
matter a certain transmission of mental and moral quali- 
ties, so that the evolution of consciousness might also be 
explained. Those of you who were young and vigorous 
at the time when Darwin's theories convulsed the scien- 
tific world will remember how, from his standpoint, 
mental .and moral qualities were transmissible from 
parents to children. You may remember, if you read 
much of the literature of the time, how that theory of 
the transmission of mental and moral qualities was made 
the basis for future evolution, the foundation of civilisa- 



34 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

tion, the motive for noble living, and how passionately 
the appeal was made by men like Professor Clifford to 
live our noblest, our best, and our greatest, so that we 
might transmit to our children an enriched heritage of 
mental and moral capacity. But science has trav^elled 
far since Darwin published the *' Origin of Species," and 
it has arrived at a conclusion which has knocked to pieces 
the splendid ethical appeal which was founded on the 
transmission of mental and moral capacity. No leading 
scientific man now ventures to declare that mental and 
moral qualities, acquired during a life, can be transmitted 
to the offspring. That has been discussed, argued over, 
controverted, and now the voice of science is clear and 
definite against it. But even if they could be, it would 
not help us as much as was once thought. For children 
are born, in the majority, during the younger time of 
their parents' life, and the accumulated mental and moral 
qualities, the wisdom of the old man, the learning 
acquired during a long life — those are held by their 
owner after the time for parentage has mostly passed. 
But that is not the reason, although it is worth thinking 
over, why this doctrine of transmission has greatly lost 
its hold. According to that, mental quality, growing, 
developing, increasing, handed down from parent to 
child, should show a continual upward path. But it 
was remarked, and that is one of the things that has 
undermined the theory, that genius is not transmitted 
from parent to child. So far from the child of a genius 
being a genius, he tends to show a mentality rather be- 
low the average, not above it. The genius marks the high 
water mark of the family. After that the family goes 
down again. Think for a moment; how many men of 



DO WE LIVE ON EARTH AGAIN? 35 

genius can you remember whose children and grand- 
children, and great- grand-children are still rising higher 
and higher in the humanity of our time? None. That 
is one of the problems that science found so difficult, 
when talking about man evolving by the transmission of 
mental capacity from father to child or mother to child. 
The only case in v^hich you will find persistence for three 
or four generations of talent is along musical lines. You 
will find a musical family; you will find that musical 
family continues perhaps for three generations, and then 
a genius will be born, and after that the faculty disap- 
pears. But that does not look so much like transmis- 
sion, as it looks like Nature preparing a body for a 
genius, with the nervous organism which is necessary for 
the full showing out of the artistic power. It looks 
rather as though that family, talented in music, prepared 
a physical organism with delicate nerves, with sensitive 
ear, and sensitive fingers, and that when that family 
organism was ready the genius stepped in to take it, and 
then the use of the family was over, and it went down 
again to be lost among the ordinary himianity of its 
time. For these, and many other reasons, Darwin^s 
theory has been given up. Science goes further than 
giving up the theory ; science has struck the death note of 
humanity as to high increase of mental ability, if it is to 
be transmitted, by declaring that genius tends to be 
sterile ; and the lower the mental type the more rapid the 
reproduction and multiplication. Now of that there is 
practically no doubt in the scientific world to-day. But 
how are you going to deal with that, side by side with 
evolution? If the theory as to the more intellectual be 
that they produce a smaller number of offspring, what 



36 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908, 

hope is there for the raising of humanity to loftier realms 
of mental power where the majority are concerned? And 
remember that the fate of the majority is the most im- 
portant for the race. It is not enough to have a few 
flowers of genius, if the intellectual level of humanity 
does not rise millennium after millennium. 

Let us pass from that point of the scientific view and 
take another scientific difficulty. Human evolution is 
marked not only by mental, but by moral growth; 
and the moral is even more important than 
the mental. Man is gradually learning to sub- 
stitute the sense of duty and obligation for the enforce- 
ment by physical strength ; man is slowly learning to sub- 
stitute compassion for cruelty, the helping of the weak, 
the sick, and the miserable, instead of the casting of them 
out to perish, careless of what suffering they may 
undergo. It is the boast of civilised nations that they 
guard the weak, nurse the sick, comfort the afflicted. 
But how have those qualities that make men human 
evolved in the struggle for existence? The struggle for 
existence is the very opposite; the fittest survive. But 
who are the *' fit " to survive in the struggle? Not 
the gentle, the compassionate, the tender, and the self- 
sacrificing, but the unscrupulous, and the brutal, the 
strong, and the man without conscience or care for the 
weaker. That is where your difficulty comes in. Hux- 
ley saw it, and Huxley declared, in the words of a 
Master, that the law of the survival of the fittest is the 
law of the evolution of the brute, but the law of self- 
sacrifice is the law of the evolution of the man. That 
is true. But then, if Darwin's theory were true, those 
who sacrifice themselves would be the very ones most 



DO 



WE LIVE ON EARTH AGAIN? 37 



valuable for the handing on of their nobler and more 
human qualities. Now, mother-love, one of the most 
splendid of qualities, evolves in the brute and evolves in 
humanity. But the mother, who sacrifices herself for 
her children,, perishes in the struggle, and the children 
are left uncared for. In the animal kingdom, in the 
fierce fight for life, mother-love is a disadvantage. The 
lioness is shot by the hunter when she endeavours to 
defend her cubs, and then the cubs perish from hunger. 
The bird that trails along with apparently broken wing, 
in order to lure away the hunter from her nest and her 
nestlings, is likely to be shot, and the young ones die. 
How, then, can mother-love be evolved in the fierce 
struggle? How can it be handed on, even if handing on 
were possible? And here is one of the problems that 
science cannot answer ; how are social qualities evolved, 
as they lead to the destruction of those who show them 
out most plainly? When science comes to answer that 
question, it finds itself facing a dead wall. But even 
that is not the most hopeless side. Supposing science 
in this matter is right ; supposing materialistic science is 
right in saying that we have no past and no hereafter, 
but only the little span between the cradle and the grave. 
What sort of hope in that is to be found for the vast 
masses of the hopeless population of the world? Is it 
any comfort to the man rotting in a slum to tell him that 
this is the only experience of the world that he shall 
have? What can that doctrine do for him save drive 
him into recklessness and brutality in order to get the 
little pleasure he can out of the brief span of life which 
is his only experience of the world. I do not say 
that that disproves the doctrine; it does not. But it is 



38 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

a doctrine of despair to man; and we should want clear 
proof before we could accept it. If it be true, as science 
says, that '' nature is stronger than nurture," the nature 
you bring with you into the world is stronger than any- 
thing you can do to train the child. Now that is true ; 
but if that be so, then what of the myriads of those who 
are born congenital criminals, hopeless idiots, or even 
stupid, in a world where craft and strength are inexor- 
able? If it be true, it is the saddest news humanity has 
ever had. It would mean hopelessness for the masses, 
and hope only for the few who happen to be at the 
time, whether by wealth or genius, or power of arms, oi 
power of brain, objects of envy to every one, unjustly 
possessing all the joy of earth where others are miserable, 
poor, and helpless. 

Now let us see whether the popular religious doctrine 
is satisfactory to reason and morality. What is that 
doctrine, briefly stated? It is this: that every soul is 
new created ; that is the first point to get clearly in mind. 
But when the soul comes into the body prepared for it, 
it brings a character with it. Where did it get it? If 
new created, then the character of the new-born child is 
imprinted upon it by its Creator. From that position 
there is no escape. Now, many children are born 
criminals, and cannot be anything else through the whole 
of their life. Many are born diseased, and disease dis- 
torts their thought and dwarfs their powers. Many are 
born deformed, miserable. Many are born vicious. 
Who, under these conditions, is responsible for all these? 
Then other people are born just the opposite — clever, 
healthy, with everything in their favour. Are they also 
new created souls ? And if one can be created noble and 



DO WE LIVE ON EARTH AGAIN? 39 

piire in character, where lies the justice in regard to 
those who are born criminal, vicious, and diseased? But 
let us take it that it is so for the moment; the new 
created soul comes either saint or criminal into the 
world. Follow them on through the whole of life, and 
what very different, what startlingly contrasting destinies 
life brings them. Do not take a criminal at first; let 
us take a decent peasant, born in some country village, 
and leading a laborious and industrious life. Even in 
such a case as that, honourable and upright as he is, how 
little that man has of all that the world can give. I do 
not mean of money, luxury, and comfort ; but I mean of 
the faculty to understand; of the power to enjoy the 
nobler things of earth. To that peasant the sunset only 
means that there will be rain to-morrow or fine weather ; 
to that man the beauty of cloud and sky only means the 
effect upon his crops. That man knows nothing of the 
joy of the artist, of the splendour of colour, of the artis- 
tic delight in all the exquisite beauty of nature. For 
him the hedge with its garlands of wild rose and honey- 
suckle only means *' green stuff " that gets in the way 
of the sun, which otherwise would shine upon his corn 
and make it grow better. Why should he be deprived 
of all that the artist enjoys? why should life be so 
narrow to him and so wide to some others? Is that all 
he is to have of life? Is the artist or the genius the bet- 
ter for his wider experience of life? If so, and there 
is only one life for all, those are robbed everlastingly of 
a bliss they might have had, and no ages in heaven will 
make up for the paucity and poverty of the intellectual 
and artistic life on earth. You cannot balance up things 
that way. Either this life is useful, or it does not mat- 



40 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

ter. If it is useful, that handicapped man will always 
be behind in the race, always less well off than the other. 
If it is not useful, then why should we be plunged into 
this world at all, to have the trouble of a physical exist- 
ence, unless it is to teach us a lesson of priceless value 
and of enduring worth? And what about that babe 
I spoke of, who only comes in for a few hours of life? 
What happens to it on the other side of death? If he 
gets salvation for nothing, then it is rather hard on the 
people who have to live 70, 80, or 90 years, whose lives 
are full of trouble, difficulty, and suffering. In these, 
I am only taking ordinary cases that you see around you 
on every side. May I take two extreme cases and show 
you how this theory of life works out? I do not know 
your city, and I do not know whether you 
have here the slums that we have in the older countries, 
or whether here in your back streets you have such 
places as I know existed in London, when I was a mem- 
ber of the School Board for the poorest London district 
in the East End. I do not know whether such slums 
exist here as I have been to in Paris, behind and beyond 
the splendour and glitter of Parisian life; or such slums 
as I have seen in Sheffield, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and 
Manchester. Supposing you came with me one day on 
one of my school board journeys, and supposing I took 
you down Whitechapel Road, and then down one of 
the little roads that turn oft' it, and then into a filthy 
court in which that road ends. The whole place is 
covered with rotting vegetables and with filthy frag- 
ments of food. I take you down into a cellar where 
there is no light and no air. No air or sun can get 
there save through the trap-door, which opens up into 



DO WE LIVE ON EARTH AGAIN? 41 

the street. A woman is lying there, and she has just 
given birth to a child. The child is not wanted; the 
mother is not glad that she is the mother of the boy; 
she only looks on him as an added burden, a new trouble 
in a miserable life ; she is only a harlot out of the streets. 
The father — who knows? some drunken sailor, some 
thief, some miserable vagabond tramping the streets, who 
can tell ? There is the child. Go and look at it. Look 
at the face; look at the shape of the head; see how the 
forehead is shaped. Why, there is no forehead; the 
head goes back from the top of the eyebrows. There 
is no room there for the instrument of the mind, no 
place, physically, for intellectual capacities to use as their 
organ. There is plenty of room at the back of the 
head for the passions and appetites of the brute. The 
sociologist who looks at the child says: '' Oh, yes, he is 
a congenital criminal; he will grow up and die a 
criminal, and you cannot do anything with him; he has 
brought that with him into the world." 

Who made him? Who is responsible for him? Who 
threw him into that filthy cellar of a London Court ? He 
is going to live in spite of his misery. Nobody helps 
him to live. He is brought up on blows, not on kisses 
like happier children. When he is a child of three or 
four, put your hand out to him as you pass and he 
shrinks back and puts up his arms or hands as defence. 
He thinks it is a blow you are going to give him, for no 
hand is stretched out to him save to give him a blow. He 
will tell you a lie. H he does not tell lies he gets beaten. 
He will try to pick your pocket. If he goes home with- 
out some stolen thing, to the cellar he calls ** home," he 
will be thrashed and sent to bed without supper. He 



42 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

is taught to steal and lie, as you teach your children to 
be honest and to tell the truth. His little lips use the 
foulest language. He hears nothing else. Horrible, 
profane, and filthy words come out from those child-lips. 
He knows no better, he means nothing by them. It is 
the language he hears all around him every day and 
every night. Presently the policeman gets hold of him, 
brings him before the magistrate. Sometimes so little 
is he that his head will not come above the bar of the 
dock, and he has to be put on a stool or a chair so that 
the judge, who is going to sentence him, can see the child. 
He is thrown into gaol. He comes out after a few days 
worse than he went in. Over and over again the same 
story is told. Back he goes to gaol, until at last he 
becomes an habitual criminal. What else could he be? 
He has never had a chance of being anything else. The 
law to him is enemy; society to him is foe; his hand is 
against everybody because everybody's hand is against 
him. And so on he goes from bad to worse; sentence 
after sentence, degradation after degradation, and at 
last that miserable creature strikes a blow in anger, as 
many a blow has been struck at him all his miserable 
life, and the blow kills. He is arrested for the last time, 
and for the last time he is tried, and for the last time he 
is sentenced; and he goes from the dock to the con- 
demned cell, and from the condemned cell to the gallow», 
and from the gallows to the quicklime of the criminaFs 
grave in the prison yard; and then? dare you say that 
that man will have a future of everlasting misery when 
his earth life has been misery from cradle to gallows? 
What justice is there in that? The child brought the 
criminal tendency with him, and no one ever helped him 



DO WE LIVE ON EARTH AGAIN? 43 

out of it. He is a victim, not a criminal; he is a help- 
less straw on the stream of a hopeless destiny. He is 
not fit for heaven — there is no doubt about that. It is 
not right to send him to hell. What will you do with 
him? There is no place for him in the world. Earth 
had no place for him. Heaven has no room for him. 
Hell would be an added cruelty to the cruelty that he 
has already suffered. What will you do with him? 
whither shall he go ? And it is not as though nobody else 
could be made on a better pattern ; because you may have 
the soul of a genius born, and everything may be as easy 
for him as crime was easy for the other. This genius is 
born in the happy environment of a happy home, father 
and mother coaxing him on to everything that is good and 
noble, checking the wrong with kindness and encouraging 
the good with love. The child goes to the best school 
the country can give him; from school he goes to the 
University. He takes prize after prize, medal after 
medal, honour after honour, till he goes out into the 
world with mind glad and happy and gay with the 
beauty and the splendour of the life that is opening up 
before him. He possesses talents that make him the 
glory of his nation; power that makes him the idol of 
the populace. He writes, he paints. Whatever may be 
the line of his genius, it is a joy to practice it and not 
a labour, and the creative power in him embodies itself 
in some deathless work of art which makes his name im- 
mortal in the history of the world. And so he goes on 
from one gladness to another, from one joy to another; 
and the world is the better because that man has lived. 
Nations are happier because of his power ; he has added 
to the beauty and the gladness of the world; and when. 



44 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

after a long life, he dies, a whole nation laments him. 
Tlie attendants at his funeral are the messengers of kings 
and the greatest of the nation, and they bury him, say, 
in Westminster Abbey, and write his name up high in the 
history of the time and all men praise him. But what 
else could he have been? He brought the power with 
him; circumstances guarded and helped him. His life 
was as much foredoomed to fame as the other was fore- 
doomed to infamy. Who is going to make it even be- 
tween those two men? Where is justice if neither de- 
served his fate, if the one was branded criminal without 
desert, and the other has genius without desert? Those 
are the problems that men and women have to face. It 
is not enough to tell us : '* Who art thou, O man, that 
repliest against God?" For God gave the reason which 
demands the question, and God gave the conscience which 
is not satisfied with the injustice of life. And I defy 
thoughtful men and women to accept that view when 
once they think it out. They accept it because they do 
not think, not because they do. 

But now let us ask whether there is any other view of 
life which will make these things intelligible. I can tell 
you in three or four sentences the theory of reincarnation : 
— That every man is a living spirit ; he is part of the life 
of the Supreme, he is the offspring of Deity; as sparks 
come forth from a fire, so comes he forth from the Divine 
Spirit. He comes to earth to learn. All are equally 
ignorant when plunged into human life. Ignorance is 
the only original sin, and it is not criminal but inevitable. 
As the powers of the Deity within him are unfolded, he 
grows into the stature of the Perfect Man. Passing out 
of the first human life, ignorant, helpless, having com- 



DO WE LIVE ON EARTH AGAIN? 45 

mitted what we should call crimes — but which were no 
crimes to that new soul, without knowledge to distinguish 
between good and evil, but were only experiences — the 
man passes into the intermediate world of which I was 
speaking the other night. There he learns that these 
things are not the best to do, because they bring trouble 
on the other side. The subject who is murdered meets 
there the man who has murdered. The one hates the 
other and makes his life there miserable. The murderer 
takes his cravings and his passions with him; he is tor- 
mented by them on the other side until they are worn 
out — starved out — and then he passes on to a higher 
world where everything in him of good is nourished and 
increases ; then back to earth he comes again with the 
gained experience and the added knowledge to learn 
other lessons here, to pass on again and reap the fruit 
of this learning; to pass on into the heavenly world and 
weave experience into faculty, and with that added fac- 
ulty to come back once more ; and so on and on life after 
life in this great cycle of births and deaths, every life 
adding some necessary experience, every re-birth bring- 
ing with it larger and wider powers, learning righteous- 
ness by the suffering that treads on the heels of evil, 
learning compassion by the sorrow which is endured 
under the yoke of oppression, learning all lessons by 
experience and transmuting them into character, until 
perfection is reached, until the perfect man shines out 
in all the splendour of man become divine. Then com- 
pulsory reincarnation is over, and unless the man re- 
turns as Saviour he passes on, all earth's lessons learnt, 
into wider life and more splendid opportunities. 

Now, that is the theory. Let us try to apply it to 



46 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

human life; take a savage; that savage, for example, 
may be one of your aboriginal inhabitants here whom 
Darwin has put on record. The savage does not know 
what we call good and evil, he does not know what we 
call right and wrong. The savage is hungry, no food 
is convenient, but he has a wife. He kills his wife and 
turns her into his dinner. A missionary comes along 
and he says : " You should not have done that, that is 
very wrong.'' The savage does not know what is meant 
by wrong, and when the missionary argues that it is not 
good to kill the wife, he answers, feeling quite comfort- 
able after the good meal, ** I assure you she was very 
good." Now I have only read that story out of Darwin; 
he has put it on record. What are you going to do with 
a man like that? He has not yet learned what good 
means, except the satisfaction of a physical craving. That 
man has not got in him anything that answers to your 
appeal. Education means drawing out what is in a 
man, but there is nothing in this man to draw out in 
response to a moral appeal. But take one of your chil- 
dren. If you were to say to him : ** It is wrong for a man 
to eat a man," the child would say : ** Oh yes, father, of 
course it is." You have not got to argue it. The child 
would say, " I know it is wrong." There is something in 
him that tells him that that is so. There is something in 
the child that answers when you tell him that it is not 
right for man to kill man. What makes the difference 
between him and the savage? We say growth; that the 
child's soul has had many experiences behind it of mur- 
ders and robberies, and of all the results that flow out 
of them, and in the life beyond death has had imprinted 
on the memory of the spirit the results which grow out 



DO WE LIVE ON EARTH AGAIN? 47 

of the experiences of human life. All your children, 
when they are brought into the world, are born with cer- 
tain ideas or tendencies to think in a particular direction, 
and as soon as education reaches them the tendency at 
once asserts itself ; but the tendency is only there because 
of past experience; you cannot obtain an answer from 
a soul that has not brought with it the characteristics. A 
few years ago I came across the story of a child of a 
North American Indian. Her whole tribe had been 
wiped out by a neighbouring tribe, and a kindly mis- 
sionary woman, going through the burnt huts and the 
ruins of the village, heard the cry of the little child, and 
she hunted for the child amongst the debris and charred 
remains and found a baby girl. She took the child 
back with her and brought it up in her own home. At 
first the child was quick, intelligent, and answered to 
what she was taught. But at about the age of 8 or 9 
years her teacher came to a dead wall, she could not teach 
her any more. There was no further answer. She could 
not teach her the commonest moral ideas ; she could not 
teach her not to steal, she could not teach her not to 
lie. And this good lady, who was an earnest Christian, 
was broken-hearted because she could not understand 
what this little child was who could not learn such a 
common truth. The child could not learn it because 
behind her there was not the experience which had taught 
it, and you cannot draw out of a child what is not in it. 
That was what my scientific friend, Buchner, meant by 
saying that '' nature is stronger than nurture." You can 
mould and shape if you have something to mould and 
shape; but where there is a total absence of the moral 
sense all your moral appeals fall useless and the child 



48 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

cannot understand. But that only means that it is young ; 
there is no need to break your heart over it as though it 
were some monstrous creature doomed to misery; it is 
only a baby soul that has not yet learnt enough to answer 
to the instruction of the teacher. From this standpoint, 
then, the criminal is the young ego, or soul, if you prefer 
the word, not to be despised, not to be hated, not to be 
trampled upon, but to be taught, disciplined, and built 
into a little better type than the type he brought with 
him into the world. I know it would turn your criminol- 
ogy up-side- down, for you would have to deal with your 
criminals in a very different way from that in which you 
deal with them now. You would have to understand a 
principle which I see you have just — for the first time, 
so far as I know — introduced here: the indeterminate 
sentence. Now I do not know how^ you are working 
that, but it is a right principle. It is the principle that 
sends a man to a hospital till he is cured. You do not 
send a man to a hospital for seven days for small-pox, 
and then let him go out and scatter the disease all about ; 
and you should not send your morally diseased man to a 
prison for a term, and then set him loose again to prey 
upon society. Only, of course, you have to change your 
present treatment. It must not be punitive in the sense 
it often is; no dark cells, no bread and water, no lash. 
Those are not the ways to train. What you need is the 
teacher, the man who will help and train the idle man 
to labour ; train the useless man to a trade. A very good 
rule is this, that if the man will not work neither shall he 
eat. Let the criminal earn his dinner before he gets it, 
for the criminal ought not to be better off than the 
honest workman. A criminal should not be kept idle 



DO WE LIVE ON EARTH AGAIN? 49 

and useless, a burden on the earnings of the honest and 
industrious labourer. The criminal should keep him- 
self, support himself ; but prison products should not be 
sold outside at a lower price, underselling those of honest 
labour. You will have to change your prison principles, 
1 know, but you would train up men who, when they went 
through the gateway of death, would have learnt some- 
thing by their contact with civilised society; they would 
not be tossed out by the gallows because earth cannot 
manage them; they would be kept as children are kept 
in a home, to be trained and disciplined until fit for free- 
dom and citizenship. That is a very different treatment 
to that adopted nowadays, but it is a treatment that will 
inevitably grow out of the recognition of the fact that 
the criminal is only a tiresome child, a savage born into 
civilised society, a kind of anachronism w^ho should learn 
his lessons the better because he has come among people 
more evolved, and whose birth into a civilised nation 
should be a blessing to him instead of the curse that it 
is at the present time. 

Then you come to the genius. What is he? He is 
the soul which has gone through life after life, and has 
gradually gathered together and accumulated all the 
results of life's experience until at last he has reached 
the splendour that we call genius. He has earned it. It 
is no gift to him, which would imply injustice. It is the 
fairly-earned wages of lives of toil and struggle. That 
is what reincarnation means — fair payment all round. 
But do not confuse the fair payment, as some do, by 
thinking that wealth or position is necessarily the result 
of virtue. It is not. You may have a very bad character, 
and yet you may possesb a great fortune. You cannot pay 



50 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

virtue with gold. The payment of virtue is being vir- 
tuous, not so much balance in your bank. Vou must 
realise that, or else you will never understand the world. 
What wealth means is this : that the man who now has 
it earned it by strong desire and by spreading happi- 
ness amongst other people when he was here before. But 
if, in the possession of it, he has a bad and selfish charac- 
ter, it means that his character before was selfish, and 
that the happiness he spread was for his own ends, and 
not for the sake of those he helped. Now, of course, bri- 
bery is against the law, but in the old country a man 
may spend £50,000 on an election; when he has done 
that a good many times, he has made a claim on hib 
party, and when the party comes into power it may give 
him a title. If he has given a park to the poor town, he 
is all the more sure of being called '* My Lord." Now, 
what is the moral value of the man? He has spent his 
money and he has given the park merely to buy for him- 
self a title — selfish right through. None the less, the 
park makes thousands of poor people happier and 
healthier than they were, and the man reaps as he 
sowed: his selfish motive works out in selfish character, 
and nature gives him back the physical happiness which 
he spread amongst thousands of the poor. Nature is 
absolutely just. Nature gives a man exactly what he 
earns. A good chemist may beat his wife, but he will 
not fail in his chemical experiments because he is a wife- 
beater. Nor will a very good husband make a great 
chemical discovery if he knows nothing of chemical law. 
You must try to understand the perfect justice of nature, 
which is the expression of God; His justice and not 
topsy-turvydom. Exactly what a man sows he reaps, 



DO WE LIVE ON EARTH AGAIN? 51 

and by that law he grows to genius and to sainthood. The 
child who is born a saint — ^that is the result of lives of 
effort and self-denial. It is no free gift given to that 
child. His saintly character has been wrought in the 
furnace of pain. That was why Edward Carpenter 
wrote, catching a glimpse of this same truth, and speak- 
ing of a man wrestling with Satan, and losing his body 
time after time in the long struggle : " Every pain that 
I suffered in one body became a power that I wielded in 
the next." That is the result of reincarnation. What- 
ever you sow comes back to you, and you take your 
choice of the seed that you are pleased to sow. What it 
means for all of you is this ; that you can become exactly 
what you like. You may have a small talent to-day, a 
little talent, say, for music. You know you cannot be a 
musical genius in this life. Never mind; go on prac- 
tising steadily, do your best; you will have time after 
time to come back greater and greater, until the talent 
becomes genius and you reach the zenith of your aspira- 
tions. There are some people who cannot be happy while 
others are miserable around them, some who are not satis- 
fied with what the world gives them when they see others 
who are in suffering and misery, whose aspirations are 
thwarted, whose work is not as great as their will. Never 
mind; work on, hope on, aspire on. That work, those 
aspirations and those efforts will come back to you in the 
heavenly world, to be changed into power and capacity 
and ability to serve. This is the teaching of eternal hope. 
Chance after chance is given you in life. You have 
failed? Never mind; it is only one day out of many 
days. The failure now means conquest to-morrow, and 
the wisdom learned by mistakes is yours for ever. It 



52 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

would be very hard if you had only one experience and 
your life were a failure. But what does it matter when 
life after life is yours, when in the end all your grandest 
hopes will be inevitably realised? The sooner, if you 
work, the more quickly if you throw all your thought, 
heart and soul into your life. You can be whatever you 
determine to be, for you are Divine. That is what re- 
incarnation means. The worst criminal, the highest saint 
— they have one life, one spirit, equal possibilities. The 
only difference is that the saint came into the world ages 
ago, and has been growing up ever since; whilst the 
criminal came into the world but a life or two ago, and 
has still to tread the same long road the saint has already 
trodden. 

And to those of you who are Christian men and 
women, who regard the words of your great Teacher as 
words of truth — what did He say to you? This : " Be ye 
therefore perfect, as your Father in Heaven is perfect." 
But you cannot be that in one brief life. Your weakness 
cannot blossom into divine strength before the grave 
closes over you, nor your ignorance into divine wisdom. 
But He who spoke knew that there was time enough, 
knew that you could grow from strength to strength, 
knew that Divine perfection is your destiny, and urged 
you to step forward on the road that leads thereto. The 
words would be but mockery, if you had only a single 
life. The words are a splendid inspiration, if you know 
that growth is possible and time is yours. Oh, if I could 
tell you what it was to come out of all the struggle and 
misery in London, and to know that it was not hopeless, 
and that those miserable drunken men and women, those 
children of wretchedness and vice, were only babes in the 



DO WE LIVE ON EARTH AGAIN? 53 

beginning of their life, and that tiiey would 
have chance after chance, life after life, growth 
ever continuing, unfolding to absolute perfection, 
and that one could help them in the upward 
climb, quicken their progress, inspire them with 
hope; that one could say to the criminal: ''My bro- 
ther, where you are I was myself ; I have grown to where 
I am, you shall do the same; and as for the saints above 
us, we shall both grow up to take our stand where they 
now stand in the eternal life." And if you knew how the 
heart of the miserable responds to it, how the depraved 
and wretched spring up to the idea ! To tell them they 
have other chances, to tell them they shall have other 
opportunities, that there is nothing in all the splendour 
of nature that does not belong of right to every man — 
that is to carry light into the darkness and to make them 
feel that they themselves are Divine. 

Such, then, is the teaching of reincarnation. Compare 
it with the other two theories of life, and judge you as 
you will. It is not mine to tell you what you ought to 
believe; not mine to try to impose upon you anything 
that I myself may think or know to be true. The duty 
of the lecturer is only to point out the way and to let 
people walk that way on their own feet, not carried 
in the arms of another's thought. Read, study, think for 
yourself, and apply this key to the turning of the locks 
of human misery and human ignorance. If you do, you 
will gradually see that it is true. If you study, you will 
come to understand its far-reaching importance; and 
what I have said to you is only as a synopsis showing you 
where to study, the lines along which you may carry on 
your own investigation; then it will be to you what it 



54 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

has been to thousands of us, the chasing away of dark- 
ness, the dawn of light in the world, the rising of the 
sun in which every child of man shall rejoice for ever. 
Sin is the ignorance of childhood; sanctity is the crown 
of manhood ; and so, on and on, until every child of man 
shall have grown to the fulness of the stature of the 
Christ. 



Life after Death 

One of the quaintest things in the great play of Hamlet 
is the fact that in a very early part of it the statement 
is made as to death that it is the bourne from which no 
traveller returns, and then the whole of the play is built 
up towards the final demonstration of a murder of which 
the ghost, returning from that same bourne, was origin- 
ally the revealer. That sort of inconsistency as regards 
belief in a life after death, the possibility of communicat- 
ing with other worlds, the general doubtfulness and 
vagueness of men's opinions on the subject, seems to 
spread through the whole of our modern life. Despite 
the fact that it is sometimes alleged that Christianity has 
made the after- death life more certain than any other 
religion, you find a far greater vagueness amongst Chris- 
tian nations than you do among the non- Christian people 
either of ancient or of modern times. In Rome, as many 
of you know, people were quite willing to lend money on 
security which was valid on the other side of death, and 
I suppose the absolute belief in the persistence of human 
personality could hardly be given a more definite proof 
than that. You find among many nations of the world 
an utter contempt of death. You find the Hindu 
wife who will not re-marry as a widow because 

(55) 



56 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

she does not regard death as in any sense sever- 
ing the marriage tie. From her standpoint the 
marriage of a widow is simply a case of bigamy. 
And so in other nations also you find this definite realisa- 
tion of a super-physical life, and of the fact that men 
and women on the other side of death remain the same 
persons that they were on this side, with the same emo- 
tions and the same affections, the same ties., the same obli- 
gations to each other. 

Now, why is it that in modern days, among the most 
civilised peoples, who boast so much of their religion as 
giving certainty of life on the other side of death, why 
is it that among ourselves the practical belief in that 
after-death life has become so little potent on conduct? 
Why is it so vague and so indeterminate? Why — testing 
it by what is the fairest test, that the proof of the reality 
of a belief is its effect on conduct — is it that the belief in 
an after-death life has become so very feeble among our- 
selves? I think that the chief reason for this has been 
the want of reason in the views taken of the after- death 
life through many a century of Christian teaching. The 
idea that the endless ages of everlasting life were deter- 
mined once for all by the passing, and often trivial, 
events of the brief life between cradle and grave, I think 
has had much to do towards making the vision of the 
other life unreal in our minds. It was not so some cen- 
turies ago. Many of you will remember when the 
preachers of Christendom, dilating on the joys of heaven 
and the terrors of hell, used many a metaphor and many 
a description that would be rejected either with disgust 
or laughter now, according to the minds of the people 
who happened to hear it. Recall as an instance of what 



LIFE AFTER DEATH. 57 

I am putting a famous description in one of the most 
eloquent of the great writers, or, rather, preachers, of 
the Calvinists. He traced out his idea of the everlasting 
nature of hell, and he described a huge mountain made 
up of grains of sand, vast, immense. He bade his hearers 
imagine that if a bird once in a thousand years came and 
carried away one grain of sand in its bill, that then, in 
the immeasurable ages which it would take to exhaust 
that mountain grain by grain, during the whole of that 
time the misery of hell would have been continuing, and 
would be no nearer to its ending than when the first 
grain of sand was carried away. Now one cannot wonder 
that against a doctrine so horrible the reason and the con- 
science of men rose up in revolt; and the very fact that 
it is so, the very fact that no such sermon would be 
preached now, to a congregation of educated people, at 
least, shows you that the old teaching has lost its hold, 
and men have been left vague and indeterminate, know- 
ing not how to replace the teaching they were unable to 
believe. The whole thing was out of relation. No man 
felt himself bad enough for an everlasting hell; none 
good enough for an everlasting heaven. • Hence the feel- 
ing that it was not rational has gradually weakened any 
idea of the after-death life in men's minds, and many, 
perhaps most, men of the world will now say : ** Well, we 
cannot know anything about it. We must do our best 
here, and hope that it will be all right on the other side." 
That is the common thing that you hear now from men 
and women, decent- living, thoughtful men and women, 
but unable to substitute for a belief they had rejected 
any rational conception of a life on the other side of 
death. 



58 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

Now is it possible that we should know anything about 
that other life? Is it possible to discover the facts which 
we shall all have to face, for the one thing that is abso- 
lutely certain for everyone of us is the fact of death. It 
is the one thing we cannot escape from, the one destiny 
of which we are absolutely sure. In these modern days, 
as in the elder days, it is reasserted that some knowledge 
is possible — knowledge of those worlds which may be 
gained as we gain knowledge of foreign lands, by travel- 
ling therein and observing what there may be seen. 
There are two ways, especially, offered to the modern 
world: one easy, but not very satisfactory; the other 
difficult, but growing more and more satisfactory the 
more we know of it; the way which is put forward by 
our friends who are called the Spiritualists, and that 
which is put forward by those who call themselves 
Theosophists. 

Now let us look at those two ways and see.^ just for a 
moment, how they differ, before I go on to try and explain 
to you clearly the methods of theosophical investigation 
and the results that hav(j come by the use of those 
methods. 

The Spiritualistic way, I said, was comparatively easy. 
It does not demand from those who would learn about it 
any special way of living, any special kind of study. It 
is done for people, not by them, and done by a certain 
class of people, who, by a peculiarity of their physical 
constitution, are able to act as links between this world 
and the world beyond, being what is called mediums, 
mediums of communication. The method of communi- 
cation lies either in a person leaving his body and allow- 
ing someone else to occupy it, or by the definite materiali- 



LIFE AFTER DEATH. 59 

sation of this discarnate entity reappearing in the world 
that he has left. Now as to the first of those methods, 
the stepping out of the body and the occupation of the 
body by someone else, there is an enormous amount of 
evidence, not only Spiritualistic, but scientific also, to 
show that more than one personality can utilise a human 
body. The cases of multiple personality, which are now 
being so much studied by psychologists, form a remark- 
able and interesting contribution to the knowledge as 
to the ways in which the human body may be tenanted, 
and the fact that not one entity only may possibly occupy 
one human body. But even taking that for granted and 
accepting it, there is so much spiritualistic evidence for 
such possession by discarnate entities that no one who has 
gone carefully into it can pretend that all the pheno- 
mena can be fraudulent, even though some of them 
have been so; those who have studied the subject care- 
fully and long know that, when you have made every pos- 
sible allowance for fraud, there is an irreducible minimum 
of phenomena which nothing can possibly destroy. I 
am not myself a Spiritualist, but I deem it right to bear 
witness to the work that has been done by that large 
body in establishing the survival of human personality 
on the other side of death, against ridicule and threat, 
against police prosecution, and every other weapon that 
ignorance could use. That body of men and women has 
gone on steadily accimiulating evidence, until numbers of 
the leading Scientists of the world now admit what for 
so many years they denied. To their courage these proofs 
are due. Still, if a man be an utter Materialist wjio can- 
not be convinced, save by an appeal to the senses, then 
I know of no better evidence than can be gained by a 



60 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

careful and scientific investigation into Spiritualistic phe- 
nomena. My objection to them does not lie then on the 
ground that they are always unreliable, but rather on 
this ground, that the people from the other side with 
whom you come into touch along these lines are very 
rarely those who can give a full and reliable statement. 
They are mostly those who are nearest to the earth that 
they have left. Not quite always, but in the great 
majority of cases they do not show signs of high intelli- 
gence nor of a wide knowledge of the conditions of life 
on the other side of death. Their statements, while 
sometimes interesting, are not full and detailed, save in 
one or two cases which stand out from the rest of the 
teachings. I look on the contributions of Spiritualism 
to a knowledge of the after- death life as very limited in 
their character, although convincing as to the fact of sur- 
vival on the other side. Our objections also lie partly 
along the lines of the depletion of human vitality, the 
injury to the mediums themselves, which so constantly 
accompanies these investigations. Were there none other, 
then I think we should be justified in following them, 
but if there be a better and a surer way, that is the way 
that I would rather commend to your attention, and I 
believe that there is. It is the way in which man may 
utilise his own spiritual nature in coming into touch with 
those who have cast off the burden of the flesh. If on 
the other side of death you are spirits, you are spirits 
quite as much on this side also. If your spiritual nature 
is capable of communicating from that world to this, the 
same spiritual nature is capable of going out from this 
world and investigating the other, while still we can 
return to this. That is the line which the great teacher* 



LIFE AFTER DEATH. 61 

of tl^ past have followed. That is the line which the 
religions of the past and present have recognised in their 
own greatest teachers, in those who have come as the 
teachers of religion to men. Based as it is on the same 
Spiritual nature in all of us, it rests on us to utilise it 
and to make investigations for ourselves. It turns on the 
fact that you are spirits encased in bodies, that those 
bodies are now in touch with other worlds as well as 
with the physical, as I was pointing out to you the other 
night, and that it is possible so to train your physical and 
your psychical bodies as to work as a living intelligence 
in the psychical body as well as in the physical, and so 
for yourselves to investigate the worlds that lie on the 
other side of death. Now it is along that line that Theo- 
sophical investigation has gone. A person, being a living 
spiritual intelligence, need not wait to know what is on 
the other side until death strikes away his body and 
releases him from the present house of the physical 
frame. This body of ours is meant to be a dwelling, but 
not a prison, and the key of it should be in our own 
hands and not only in the hands of death. That is the 
fact that has been so often proclaimed, so often verified, 
and in what I am going to lay before you now, it is on 
those investigations that I shall entirely base all that I 
say. I do not propose to go beyond the facts that I can 
myself say I have verified as being true, for it is our 
habit amongst ourselves to verify over and over again 
what anyone may have observed, and so gradually to 
bring a consensus of testimony to establish the facts as 
to the other worlds. 

I start, then, with the statement that it is possible to 
leave the body and return to it. You may say : " But 



62 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

that sounds very curious,'* and yet you are doing it every 
night of your lives. Whenever you go to sleep you, as 
a living intelligence, leave your body, and that leaving 
of the body in sleep, at least, is a fact that is being more 
and more recognised by scientific investigators who utilise 
what is called trance, which is only a form of sleep, 
a form of sleep in which for the time the physical body 
is insensitive to stimulus, but fundamentally the same as 
the sleep state. Now it is proved beyond possibility of 
contradiction that such leaving of the body is possible, 
that under these conditions, as I was pointing out to you 
the other night, the living intelligence is very much more 
active and potent than when it is within the normal phy- 
sical conditions. And it is on those facts that we start 
in our investigations, the possibility of leaving the physi- 
cal body without loss of intelligence. It is not, how- 
ever, on the ordinary dream state that we depend, but 
on the deliberate leaving of the body that comes by train- 
ing yourself, in the sleep state as well as in the waking, 
until you have bridged the loss of consciousness between 
the two, can leave the body without loss of conscious- 
ness, and bring back and imprint on the brain that which 
outside the body you have observed. Then when you have 
accomplished that, you can go a step further, opening up 
these inner psychical senses. It becomes, after a time, 
unnecessary to leave the physical body while you are 
exercising the higher senses. You learn gradually to 
unfold these so that they are under your control, so that 
you can observe the next world while living in the waking 
consciousness here. You must remember the next world 
is not far away. It is around you all the time. Your 
friends who have thrown off the body do not travel far 



LIFE AFTER DEATH. 63 

away to some distant country, but remain near those 
they love, and are visible to the opened eyes which can 
see the finer matter in which then the intelligence is 
clothed. I say then, that you all have bodies of that 
finer matter, and in those bodies the senses whereby these 
bodies may also be seen ; and if that line be followed and 
practised, then, while wide awake to the things of this 
world, you can examine also the things of the 
world that we call the other side of death, but which is 
really the world that is around us all the time, the world 
whose inhabitants are with us wherever we may be, the 
world which thus becomes a world of knowledge, and 
not only a world in whose reality we hope. 

Now let us see what is happening when a person is 
throwing off the physical body, the moment of death. 
Exactly the same thing happens then as happens to 
every one of you each night as you fall asleep. There 
is no pain in the moment of death, no agony in the pass- 
ing out of the body, even where signs of physical suffer- 
ing are. The suffering is over, although there may be 
some touch of action in the physical body which stimu- 
lates the suffering no longer felt. The intelligence, pass- 
ing out, does not feel the last contortions of the dying 
body, but is turned in, as it were, within its own immortal 
existence, conscious of the world that is opening around 
it, and conscious of the world it is leaving for the last 
time. Hence those who gather round a death-bed should 
be careful that, in the wrench of the parting to them, the 
friend who is going onwards is not disturbed by any 
noisy demonstrations of sorrow which may check his 
peaceful passing and recall his thought for a moment to 



64 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

the pain on earth. Most religions have wisely appointed 
prayers for the dying, more for the sake of the calm of 
the living than for the sake of the intelligence passing 
on into the next world. It is true that these prayers for 
the dying, as prayers for the dead, are the messages of 
love to the passing one, that ought never to be forgotten 
nor omitted. For there is really no death, nothing that 
is a ceasing of life is possible, and there is no reason why 
you should not love and pray for your friends on the 
other side of death as much as you have done while they 
were still with you, for, though invisible, they have not 
passed out of reach. Now for about six and thirty hours 
after the actual moment of death a man stays in a con- 
dition of happy but dreamy consciousness. I mean by 
that, he is not conscious of anything around him, neither 
in this world nor on the other side, wrapped rather in 
what you would call dreams — the weariness of the sick- 
ness over, perfectly comfortable, happy and content. 
There is that pause between this world and the next last- 
ing for this brief space of mortal hours. After that, 
different will be the experiences of the one who has 
passed on according to the life which has closed upon 
earth. The easiest way to make this clear is to classify, 
however roughly, those who pass on. Take the lowest 
human type, the savage, the congenital criminal, the man 
of very violent uncontrolled passions, the man whose only 
enjoyments here have been in the gratification of the 
appetites of the body. You have there a great class of 
human beings whose experiences — and there is no object 
in hiding it — are of a painful and distressing kind. If 
could not be otherwise, if you think for a moment, in a 
world where law is changeless and where the effect fol- 



LIFI AFTER DEATH. 65 

lows the cause in inviolable sequence. What could happen 
to a man all of whose pleasures are connected with the 
physical world, when the physical body is struck away 
from him by death, when all the passions remain, but 
gratification is no longer possible? What can happen 
save a painful craving for the banished pleasures, a 
suffering from the desires that no longer can be gratified, 
a passionate desire again to feel the feelings which on 
earth represented the only form of happiness he knew, 
and an equally great disappointment and frustration when 
he finds that those pleasures are now beyond his grasp? 
That is what all the stories of the different hells of dif- 
ferent religions have been built upon, but by their exag- 
geration they have destroyed their utility. Law is Law. 
The drunkard and the profligate, victims of insatiable 
desires, must inevitably suffer on the other side of death 
until those desires are worn out by literal starvation by the 
lack of the food which in the physical body could be 
supplied. It is no punishment inflicted, it is an inevitable 
sequence; no arbitrary penalty of an angry God, but the 
working out of that most merciful though just law of 
nature, that a man shall reap according to his sowing, 
and by the reaping of the harvest shall learn the wisdom 
or unwisdom of the planting of the seed. 

There comes out the difference between the endless and 
the temporary hell, for I do not mind if you choose to 
use the word. Suffering in a world of law is remedial. 
By suffering, nature teaches us the things that we ought 
not to do. The things that injure us, physically, morally, 
mentally, they are all accompanied by suffering, whether 
in this world or any other. The profligate, though he 
may gain pleasure for a time, pays the price of that 



66 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1903. 

pleasure in his ruined nerves, in his shattered body, 
even in this life, and on this side of the grave. So, on 
the other side, he reaps the similar penalty of continuing 
desires that he cannot gratify. But the moment that the 
desires are exhausted, he passes onwards free from the 
suffering that he made for himself, and the scourge of 
his vices, created by himself, ceases to give him pain 
when the vice is exhausted by disuse. There it is that 
the man learns the lesson that it is an evil thing to lead 
the passion-life of the brute when grown into human 
form. There he learns his earliest lessons, that it is not 
worth while to be the slave of his vices, of his passions. 
He is forced to conquer them by the conditions around 
him. and he grows in knowledge by the inevitable se- 
quence of pain. Others you may find there also of brutal 
and violent character, always learning a lesson which on 
earth they refused to learn ; and you find in some of the 
old religions, where these facts were well known, that 
the ordering of the man's life here was made so that he 
might not suffer there, and in the ordering of the man's 
life, men were always recommended and commanded to 
give up, after they reach old age, the ordinary pleasures 
of the world, to turn more to thought than to physical 
pleasures, more to study, meditation, and prayer than to 
worldly interests, preparing for themselves deliberately 
things that they can carry on to the other side, so that, 
passing through death, they might have left their pas- 
sions behind them, and have carried on pure emotions 
and noble thoughts. 

Now after that stage of the after-death life, a stage 
which is a stage of suffering, there is one possibility that 
might well be avoided, which sometimes causes suffering 



LIFE AFTER DEATH. 67 

at the present time. Thought on that side is much more 
powerful than it is here, and the things that you believe 
on this side are forms and forces that you meet with on 
the next. That is the real mischief now of the preaching, 
in some of the narrower forms of Christianity, of that 
old doctrine of everlasting suffering. It causes terror 
on the other side. It creates occasionally for those 
victims some hours or days of suffering, partly due to 
terror, partly due to the manufacture of the very horrors 
that they dread. One of the experiences that some of us 
have had in going about among the people on the other 
side has been the finding occasionally of some unlearned 
but earnest Christian who has believed in that terrible 
doctrine of hell, while still he was living here. We have 
found him in a state of terror, afraid of a doom that he 
has believed to be possible. Let me give you one case 
which will show you how vivid it may be — not the case 
of believing in hell, but a very practical case of a woman 
who was burnt to death in the cabin of a ship. You can 
imagine what such a person would endure in the moments 
before death, as it was coming upon her, before she knew 
she could not escape, a horror, a terror. With the flames 
gathering around her in that lonely cabin, fighting as 
she did for life — as could be seen by her body when it 
was discovered too late to save — she went out of the 
body in a passion of terror, an agony of fear. Two of 
us found her on the other side surrounded by flames that 
her own imagination had created, suffering under that 
imagination, and still in the terror of the death. So 
profound was that terror, so frantic her agony, that it 
was hours and hours before it was possible to comfort her 
and to persuade her to look round and see that there 



68 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

was nothing around her which could injure or terrify. I 
mention that particular case in order to make you see, as 
it were, for a moment the harm that may be done by 
lurid descriptions of terrors of what may happen on the 
other side of death. People who go out of the world 
with those in their mind do for a time suffer the very 
terrors that they fear, not for long, happily, for there 
are many on the other side whose work it is continually 
to help those who have passed on, to make them know 
that there is no fear, no terror, which need thus torture 
them when the body has been left behind. But I would 
urge upon everyone who uses the power of the tongue 
to teach religion not to use those terrors against the 
sinner, for they are creating the hell that for a brief 
while may torture, until the baseless imagination has 
been shown to be the nullity that it is. So much trouble 
is caused there, so much unnecessary suffering, that you 
cannot wonder if some of us who have to undo the mis- 
chief on the other side, try as far as we can to argue 
against it here. 

Those who go into the other world by sudden death — 
by suicide, by accident — are the people who need most 
on the other side the care of those who help, and the 
great intelligences, whom you speak of as angels, have, 
as part of their work, the helping and the comforting of 
those who, flung suddenly out of the one life into another, 
find themselves as strangers on the other side of death. 
It is because of the shock of such a sudden departure 
that you find in the Litany of the Church of England 
the prayer to be saved from sudden death. I have often 
heard people nowadays say that they cannot use that 
prayer with any reality of feeling, that they think it 



LIFE AFTER DEATH. 69 

would be better to pass out suddenly and have no warning 
of the approach of the death hour. Not so is the opinion 
of all those who know the conditions on the other side. 
Far better the illness, in which the clinging to life is 
gradually loosened, than the sudden shock of the flinging 
of the intelligence out of the body into that other world 
with all the suddenness which stuns and bewilders, and 
the marvel that sometimes terrifies the unprepared new- 
comer to that world. Sudden death is a thing not desir- 
able from the standpoint of all who know, and that old 
Christian prayer is based on occult knowledge. 

I have often been asked what is the fate of the suicide. 
There is no one answer you can give to that, because the 
fate depends on the life that has gone before, and not 
simply on the sudden act that has closed that life on 
earth. Where a man who has wronged others tries by 
suicide to escape from the results of the wrong that he 
has done, kills himself to, say, escape prosecution for 
embezzlement or anything of that sort, his life on the 
other side is certainly unhappy, but rather for the wrong 
that preceded than for the act that slew the body. Where 
a man has caused much misery, wretchedness, by any form 
of human fraud or trickery, and then strikes away the 
body because he cannot face the results of what he has 
done, he escapes nothing. Helpless on the other side, he 
sees the misery that he has wrought. Unable to assist, 
tormented by the sight of the harm he has done, he has 
only injured himself by the hasty striking away of the 
body. He finds himself face to face with all the pain 
he has caused, with the sin and the misery of the victims 
he may have reduced to poverty, and who surround him 
by angry thoughts. It is the most foolish of actions to 



70 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

Strike away the body, for he thereby only renders him- 
self more helpless. Nothing is escaped thereby. There 
is only greater intensification of the sorrow. But in the 
case of a suicide, who by bitter suffering or despair has 
practically lost control over his mind, who acts not with 
thought, but thoughtlessly, whirled away perhaps by a 
wave of despair that he is unable to breast, there the 
result of the action is naturally not so terrible, for it is 
suffering and not crime which has led up to the rash 
act of suicide. But in every case where the body is 
struck away, be it by self-inflicted death or accident, the 
man is not dead in the ordinary sense of the term — I 
mean as he would be if he had lived out his cycle of years 
upon earth. He has to live that out on the other side. 
Only, the conditions are less favourable there than here. 
It is the life on earth without a physical body, tied, as it 
were, to earth, and unable to leave it until the hour comes 
for which the body was builded, the natural time of 
death. Hence in all cases suicide is an act of folly, the 
putting oneself at a greater disadvantage rather than the 
getting away from difficulty and suffering, and the only 
cases in which there is merely a peaceful sleep upon the 
other side in the case of suicide is where the mind has 
really been unhinged by pain, and no moral responsibility 
can attach itself to the rash act that ends the life. 

The experiences on the other side, again, bear directly 
on the infliction of capital punishment here. No greater 
folly, as well as crime, than to send the criminal out of 
this world into the next by the act of law. It is not only 
that you throw away the chance of helping, the chance of 
ti aining, the chance of reforming, but you do the maddest 
of all mad things — you set free a malignant intelligence 



LIFE AFTER DEATH. 71 

that here you could keep from doing harm to his fel- 
lows. Your criminal who has committed a murder is 
helpless while you hold him under restraint, but if you 
strike away the body, how can you control him on the 
other side? It is men of that sort who have given rise 
to the ideas of devils tempting and urging others to sin. 
Those men, furious at the act that has ended their lives, 
hating society, and longing for revenge, they it is who 
only too often push weaker criminals into similar crimes. 
Often the bad harvest of the gallows is a number of simi- 
lar crimes taking place in the community that sends the 
murderer to his doom. It is not without significance 
that the countries that have abolished the death penalty 
are those where murder takes place the least often. Swit- 
zerland is such a country, but murder is the rarest of 
crimes there. Where you hang for murder, you practi- 
cally make temptation and instigation to murder round 
the place where the murderer's body was struck off. 
Hence, from the study of other-world conditions we 
learn a lesson for the improvement of our treatment of 
criminals here. 

But pass from that worst side of human life, and take 
the average human being, man or woman — not a high 
type for a moment, a low but not a sinful type, the type 
that you get by hundreds and thousands among your- 
selves — the men whose only pleasures outside the work by 
which they win a livelihood are the pleasures of the race- 
course, the pleasures of the music hall, the pleasures 
which can only be enjoyed in the body, and which do 
nothing to stimulate the mind nor to gratify the loftier 
emotions, those whose amusements are trivial, childish, 
depending for their interest on the mere changing of 



72 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

money. Or take the women whose lives are as trivial 
as those of the men, who find their greatest pleasure in 
fashion or idling. What can you do with those people 
on the other side of death, when you come to think how 
much of them is left? All their life has gone into 
their bodies. All their interests have to do with physical 
things. They have no intellectual pleasures, no artistic 
pleasures, nor pleasures of the higher emotions. Clothes, 
fashion, games, these are the things alone in which they 
take a lively interest, and these things do not go on to 
the other side of death. Now, those people do not suffer 
in the sense of any keenness of suffering. It is a dull, 
grey, unhappy life for the time, until the higher side of 
them awakens and begins to show activity in that other 
world. To put it colloquially, they are very much bored. 
There is no word that expresses their condition better. 
You meet them wandering about discontented, grumbling, 
fretful, complaining — not actually suffering, as I said 
before, but finding life so grey as to be almost intoler- 
able. Now, there is a certain value in knowing that 
beforehand. It is no good knowing it only when you get 
there. If you know it beforehand you can provide against 
it, and the provision against it is simple enough. Mea- 
sure your amusements as well as your work, and let some 
of them at least be of a nature that death is unable to 
destroy. I am not speaking against the taking of plea- 
sure. All human beings need some pleasure and some 
amusement, and most of all those whose work is laborious 
and of the nature of drudgery. They do need pleasure 
in order to brighten their lives here. But is it necessary 
that the pleasure should be of such an unspeakably stupid 
character? That is the point that you want to think 



LIFE AFTER DEATH. 73 

about. Take music. Music is a thing which stirs emo- 
tions that you can carry on to the other side of death, 
that you may utilise there in many of the forms of 
noblest pleasure. Then why not here have the music 
that raises a little, rather than the music that degrades? 
It need not be of too difficult a kind; it need not be 
what would be called classical, music interesting only to 
the musician ; it may be a noble ballad ; it may be a song 
carrying with it some high sentiment or pure emotion, 
something better than the miserable patter which is what 
you may hear in many of the music hall songs, drivel 
which is not fit for rational people to listen to at all. 
Now that is one of the practical points that come out 
of the study of the other-world conditions. Make part 
of your amusements at least from that portion of your 
nature which you carry on to the other side. Have some 
taste, some hobby, if you will, which you find interesting, 
something that cultivates and refines, without being too 
much of a strain upon the brain that may be already 
tired with the day's toil, but something which appeals 
to the real human part of you, and not only to the mere 
physical part. And that will be something to carry 
on to the other side, and to make you on that other side 
contented and happy by the resources that you have 
within yourself. 

You find many of those who have passed onwards who 
are still in the higher regions of the intermediate world 
with which I have been dealing, many a man whose 
interests are large, those who love their community, who 
love their town, or love their country. These men carry 
on into the intermediate world subjects of interest and 
powers of usefulness as well. A statesman, or the poli- 



74 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

tician who has been honourable and serviceable, the 
man who has loved the people and tried to serve them, 
his utility is not ended when death strikes away the 
body. In that higher world he can still work for the 
causes that he loved, still inspire others with the enthu- 
siasm that moved him here. He carries on his interests 
and his powers, and is able to work for others on the 
other side of death. 

So in making up your life here have some larger inter- 
ests, some care for the common good, some thought for 
the common welfare, some larger self than the self that 
is limited by the body, and then, as you pass onwards, 
life will grow wider not narrower, richer not poorer, 
fuller of happy activity instead of being deprived of 
it, for you build here your life on the other side and carry 
with you the materials for it. 

Let us leave the intermediate world and pass on into 
the heavenly, that heavenly world which is the world of 
growth, which is the world of swifter evolution. And 
all men pass on into that heavenly world, even the 
poorest in virtue, the lowest in intelligence. That lowest 
class of which I spoke at first, who inevitably pass 
through the experience of suffering, grow out of it and 
pass on into the heavenly world, for only a short stay, I 
grant, for the material they take with them is small. 
Never a seed of good, either in emotion or in thought, 
that is lost to the soul that experienced it, that does not 
find its flowering place on the other side of death. Now, 
in that heavenly world we also find lives differing accord- 
ing to the lives which here were led — all happy, but 
happy in different measures, according to the greatness 
of the capacity for happiness. None but is as happy as 



LIFE AFTER DEATH. 75 

he can be, through all the days of his heaven-life, his 
capacity to receive always full, but the amount of the 
capacity varying from one to another. And first you 
find in the heaven-world a perfect satisfaction for all the 
loves and the affections of the world you are in to-day. 
Never a tie of love that is broken by death, never a tie 
of affection that does not find in the heaven-world its 
realisation. Love on earth is sometimes frustrated, but 
in heaven it finds the crown which here it failed to win. 
People ask sometimes : *' Shall we know each other in 
heaven? Shall we there meet our dear ones?" What 
would heaven be unless the loved ones of earth found 
there their reuniting, or if one who was beloved here was 
left outside? The circle of love must be complete, and 
so we find it is. None are missing whom here we loved, 
none are away from us whom here we cherished. If 
you think for a moment, you will see how reasonable 
that is. For you do not love only the bodies; you love 
the immortal spirits of those who are dear to you. A 
mother loves her son. But he changes from the babe 
that she nursed in her arms to the man who in her old 
age is her support and consolation. The babe and the 
man are very different in body, but always the son is 
there, and it is the son, and not the body, that the mother 
loves, though the body may be dear for the son's sake; 
and her son is ever with her in that heavenly world. So 
again with all others, with every tie that here on earth 
might seem to be broken. Have you a friend from whom 
misunderstanding has parted you? Have you a friend 
who has turned against you, though once he loved you? 
Have you some friend who has forgotten you, or, worse 
than that, has returned your love with coldness and your 



76 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

helpfulness with ingratitude? Never mind. Keep on 
loving, though he has ceased to love. Pour out love un- 
stintingly, though he has turned his back upon you. For 
in the heavenly world you will re-win the friend whom 
here you seemed to lose. Keep the love tie unbroken, 
and it will knit you each to each again in the heavenly 
world. 

All, then, of our higher emotions find in heaven their 
intensification and their bliss. But not love only which 
unites heart to heart, as friend or relative; the love of 
mankind, that nobler, grander love which spreads itself 
out in service and endeavours to lift and help the race, 
that great love of man, often frustrated here on earth for 
lack of power and lack of opportunity, that love comes 
back to you in heaven and grows into the power of ser- 
vice that in this life you lacked. That is the wonderful 
alchemy of heaven. Every hope and every affection, 
every thought and every aspiration, these are the mate- 
rials of the heaven-world out of which you build your 
nature and gradually evolve it towards perfection. 

I have said to you elsewhere that thought creates, but 
the creative power of thought is at its highest and its 
greatest in the heavenly world. Not one noble aspiration, 
not one pure and lofty thought, not one passing flash 
of longing to help and serve, but in the heaven-world you 
shall find it again, to weave it into the garment of the 
spirit with which you shall be reborn again to serve on 
earth. Heaven is the growing place for all the seeds 
which here we are planting. The harvest of the heaven- 
world depends on the richness and the nature of the seeds 
which here you sow, and if you would have your heaven 
full and rich, if there you would evolve more rapidly 



LIFE AFTER DEATH. 77 

than here, then think nobly and highly, love purely 
and largely, and all that experience here upon earth shall 
turn into power and faculty in heaven. 

This is the bearing of the knowledge of the life after 
death on life here. It is no idle folly, no useless pleasant 
imagining. You work out here that which in the other 
worlds you shall enjoy and utilise. When you under- 
stand that, or begin to understand it, you change your 
life here and make it more a preparation for a long 
life of heaven, for, remember that life here is but like 
the dip of the diving bird into the sea, out of the free 
air of heaven down into the ocean. It dives for a moment 
to catch the food it requires. So each of you, heaven- 
born, not earth-born, plunge from the heavenly life 
down into the earthly to carry back the experience you 
gather to your heavenly home. That is the use of the 
earthly life, to give the experience that in heaven you 
will build into character and power, to gather the seeds 
of the harvest that there you will reap, to make possible 
here the richness and the glory of a long heavenly life. 
When you know it, you would not let a day go by 
that does not sow some seed for the heavenly reaping. 
A little reading of great books, a little coming into 
(ouch with the great minds of the race, the communing 
with those who have left behind them the mighty litera- 
ture of the past, these are the affinities that in the 
heavenly world realise themselves. Here you may have 
small chance of going among the greatest and the most 
thoughtful of your race. Never mind, you can pick here 
the company that in the heavenly world you will enjoy, 
and if you study here the writings of a Plato, the writings 
of any great thinker of the past, the writings of the 



78 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

great authors of our own time — Emerson, Ruskin, take 
whom you will — these studies of yours make links, which 
in the heaven world will re-assert themselves, and you 
shall know as teachers there the souls whose writings 
you have studied as loving pupils here. That is the way 
in which heaven and earth are linked together, that the 
vision in which the knowledge of the future enables us 
to make that future what here we determine that it shall 
be. Creators of your own destiny, you can make it as you 
will. On that side you cannot begin. You must begin 
here what there you shall continue. As these facts 
gradually become real to us, as by reiterated investiga- 
tion and constant study we find out more and more that 
these worlds are all linked together, parts of a single 
life, continued, unbroken, life here becomes irradiated 
with the light of that fuller life, and earth becomes mor^* 
beautifully illumined by the light of heaven. You are 
really in your higher spiritual nature living in heaven 
all the time, only earth's noises deafen you to the subtler 
music of the heavenly worlds. It is round you always. 
Heaven's inhabitants mingle with your grosser earthly 
life, heaven's music breathes around you, heaven's light 
shines about you, you who are natives and citizens of 
heaven, deaf and blind to your own country, and to the 
messages it is breathing to your souls. Your lives might 
be so much fuller, so much richer, so much happier, if 
only you would open the higher senses and not cling so 
passionately to the grosser forms of earth, but realise 
those belonging to your birth-place, which is really your 
true home. 

An old teacher once said, when he was asked by his 
heavenly comrades, what he thought of earth : " A happy 



LIFE AFTER DEATH. 79 

land for those who can forget their birth-place;" but 
there is a happier land for those who remember their 
birth-place; a stronger, higher happiness for those who 
realise more lives than one. All the prophets who have 
known heaven and talked on earth, all the Divine re- 
vealers who have lifted a little corner of the veil and 
taught their followers the realities of the greater life, 
bear witness to the reality of the life on the other side 
of death, to its being a continuance of the life that here 
we are leading. If you study your lives here, mark 
your faculties, judge your amusements and your business 
here, you can forecast what your life shall be upon the 
other side. Make it what it should be, full of the 
power of evolution, full of the certainty of growth, full 
of the splendour of the divine potentialities within you. 
Then earth shall also become heaven, and the two shall 
mingle in your lives, and those around you who know 
not of that glory, those around you who still are blinded 
by the earth, shall catch from the beauty of your lives 
something of the promise of the life immortal, and you 
shall bring to the deafened ears of earth some of those 
melodies of heaven which shall have become the music 
of vour own lives. 



The Power of Thought 



We very often hear the phrase in common conversation 
that So-and-so is *' a self-made man." But when we come 
to ask what is meant by the speaker in calling anyone a 
self-made man, we always find that the speaker is dealing 
with the value of the money the man has made and not 
at all with the making of himself. His banker's balance 
is the thing that is considered, and not the character 
and nature of the man. I propose this evening to talk 
to you about the way in which any man can really make 
himself; not make money, not make social position, but 
really make what we call a man, his thought power, his 
character, his moral nature, his future. All this is within 
his power, if he knows how rightly to utilise his thought. 
It is that with which I want to deal, and I shall try to 
show you that, both from the later scientific standpoint 
and also from the testimony of religions, thought is the 
great creative power, and that to understand how to use 
it, to utilise it to the full, is really to make ourselves the 
masters of our future, to shape and build ourselves into 
whatever form we will. Many of you may know that one 
religion after another has practically said exactly the 
same thing about the power of thought. One of the 
most ancient of the Indian Scriptures declares : "Man 

(80) 



THE POWER OF XHOUaHT. 81 

is created by thought ; what a man thinks upon that he 
becomes." And then, the sentence finishes in the char- 
acteristically Indian way: "Therefore think upon God." 
So you may find in the Hebrew Scriptures : '' As a man 
thinks, so he is." That testimony of religion is amply 
borne out by the discoveries of science; and I propose 
to deal with those first, so as to make what many would 
regard as a solid basis for certain things that I want to 
put to you as a matter of practice and conduct. 

I will ask you first to look in the widest and roughest 
way possible on one clear power that thought has, even 
over the dense matter of which our outer physical body 
is made up. If you look at two old people, one of whom 
through life has been harsh and selfish, and another who 
through life has been generous and benevolent, you will 
at once be able to tell by what we call " expression " that 
which has been the character of the life. Now expres- 
sion is only the result of the movements of certain 
muscles, of the habits impressed by thought on the fea- 
tures and on the movements of the features. Any of you 
who have read Darwin's famous book on " The Expres- 
sion of the Emotions " will remember how he analyses 
emotions with their corresponding expressions, and shows 
how, by the continual repetition of any emotion, a cor- 
responding sculpturing of the contour of the features 
will take place. And you may notice in the most ordinary 
life that if a man or woman is habitually harsh, then even 
in gentle moments the physical apparatus does not lose 
the habit impressed upon it by the ordinary emotion which 
dominates the character. So much, even in the coarse 
and gross matter, do we find that thoughts and emotions 
have the power to shape and to mould. But far more 

G 



82 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

important than that is the question of the relation of 
thought to the thinking apparatus, to the brain itself. 
Now during the latter part of the earlier half of the 
19th century, some very remarkable statements were made 
as to the relation between brain and thought. Some of 
you will remember a statement of Carl Vogt, that I sup- 
pose not a single psychologist now would repeat, that 
'' the brain produces thought, as the liver produces bile." 
It was a rough and brutal way of putting the thing, but 
still to a very large extent scientific thought in the 
seventies and eighties still ran along that line, though 
only in a few cases quite to that extent. And the whole 
question as to the relation of thought and brain, thought 
and nervous system, is really part of the larger argument, 
whether the organ produces the function, or the function 
produces the organ. Now along the line of the mate- 
rialistic argiunent which science then was so thoroughly 
following, you will find it put forward in the writings 
of the times that it is the organ that produces the func- 
tion. My old friend, Biichner, in dealing with that very 
thing, remarked that we did not have legs because we 
wanted to walk, but we walked because we had legs; 
and that puts in a brief phrase the whole gist of the argu- 
ment that then practically held the scientific world. But 
as a true matter of evolutionary fact that is not so. We 
find when we look back into a very early stage of the 
living creature, that the whole livmg creature is nothing 
but one cell, homogeneous in its contents, rounded in its 
form. We find that that single scrap of living matter 
shows out the functions of life, though the organs of 
those functions are entirely absent. When the creature 
at that early stage of evolution wants to eat, he has no 



THE POWER OF THOUGHT. 83 

mouth, but wherever the food is, there he takes it in. 
And as we trace him and those who come after him along 
the line of evolution, we find that the constant exercise 
of the function of eating gradually builds up a mouth by 
which that function can be better performed. And so, 
all through the functions of life in that tiny scrap of liv- 
ing matter. If we take the example that Biichner took, 
the question of locomotion, what is it that we find? This 
scrap of living matter has no legs ; he wants to move, and 
so he pushes out just a little bit of the substance of his 
body, and then drags his body after it in a very clumsy 
way, until in the movement of the body the leg again 
disappears into the substance, and he has accomplished 
a very primitive form of movement. Now it is by con- 
tinued repetition of that act, by wanting to move over 
and over again, that at last a definite leg is established, 
and the organ of locomotion is thus seen to be created 
by the will, the desire, to move. And so throughout evo- 
lution there is always first the want, then the effort, the 
exercise of power, and by that exercise there follows the 
creation of the instrument whereby the power is more per- 
fectly expressed. And if we carry that process through 
all evolution until we come to the nervous system and the 
brain, is there any reason why the brain alone of all the 
organs of the body should escape from the otherwise uni- 
versal rule that it is function that creates organ and not 
organ function? Shall we not be more in accord with the 
analogy of nature, shall we not be following more exactly 
the method of nature's working, if instead of saying that 
thought is produced by the brain, we allege that the brain 
is produced by the exercise of the function of thought? 
If you study nature you will be compelled to come to 



84 AUSi KALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

that conclusion, that the organ of thinking is the product 
of the exercise of thinking; that is, that as we think we 
create, even as regards the matter of the brain. I need 
not even stop there, for later science has given us fur- 
ther particulars of the power of thought upon the brain. 
If you read some of the later investigations into the 
brain, you will learn that when the child is born into 
the world there are certain large cells in the brain that 
do not divide, that do not grow more numerous, that 
remain in the brain at the number which exists at birth. 
Then it is found that as the thought life of the child 
begins, changes occur in these cells. They do not divide 
and multiply, as I have just said, according to the ordin- 
ary rule of cell-multiplication under the impetus of exer- 
cise, but none the less they change. At first they were 
merely irregular rounds, but, as the child begins to think, 
little processes begin to shoot out of these cells, little 
roots they look like, and so they are called by the Greek 
name dendra. As the thoughts go on, these rootlets 
become more and more numerous. As the 
thoughts go on, the rootlets of one cell join with 
those of another, until as the thought process continually 
expands, these little cells are joined together by a net- 
work of these tiny rootlets, and you have a web of nervous 
matter joining all the cells together and making them 
the great organ of the reasoning faculties. And so much 
is this the case, that you find doctors and scientific men 
now advising parents and teachers not to try to force 
their boys and girls into logical processes of reasoning 
until they have reached a certain age. They point out 
that the observations of the child, the baby eflforts at 
the connecting of observations together, the childish 



THE POWER OF THOUGHT. 85 

efforts to draw conclusions from the observations made, 
that those are the things that lead to the organisation of 
the cells, and that gradually build the physical organ of 
thought. And if, with a child too young, in whose brain 
as yet thought has not produced this necessary web for 
thinking, if you try to press that child, teaching him logic, 
mathematic, or other lines of thought which depend for 
their understanding on the exercise of the reasoning fac- 
ulty, you will find the child cannot do it. In that case 
he will only learn by rote; he will not understand the 
logical process. And it is very likely that many of you, 
if you look back to your school days as boys and girls, may 
remember how you committed the problems of Euclid 
to memory instead of trying to reason them out as a 
trained mathematician would do; and you may remem- 
ber that sometimes when your teacher tried to see if you 
had understood, and altered the letters at the various 
angles of the figures, you showed yourself to be a most 
unfortunate failure, and were entirely unable to reason 
it out. You could only remember, you could not reason. 
Now, according to the physiologist and the scientist, you 
cannot go through the process of reasoning until you 
have created your reasoning instrument. Supposing, in 
order to see whether it is the brain or the man who is at 
fault, you take a fairly stupid peasant and throw him 
into the hypnotic trance, and then try Avhether he can 
reason or not. Over and over again it has been shown 
that when the brain is paralysed, under those conditions 
the reasoning faculty is able to show itself out apart from 
the brain, is able to transmit it through the instrument 
which cannot itself answer to the thought. And many 
of the conclusions that have been built up by modern . 



86 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

psychologists on the functions of the brain, and the 
relations to it of the reasoning faculty, are largely based 
on the results which have been attained when the brain 
has been paralysed, and the power of the thought has 
been tested apart from the mechanism of the brain. 

So for the moment I will leave that part of the subject 
at this, that your thought is the creative power for the 
improving of your brain. If you want your brain to 
become a better instrument of thought, you must deliber- 
ately use your power of thought in order to exercise it, 
and thereby to improve it. As you think, you not only 
affect these particular cells that I spoke of, but in other 
parts of the brain you multiply cells in the ordinary way 
by exercise. You find if you compare the brain of the 
thinker and the brain of the peasant that they are 
entirely unlike in the number of their convolutions, in 
the depth and the complexity of those parts of the sur- 
face of the brain. You can look into this as you please 
in books of anatomy and in books of physiology; from 
all of them you will come to the same result, that by 
exercise of the function of thought you improve the 
physical instrument that you use in the thinking. Now 
it is that fact which has so much bearing on the possibili- 
ties of human beings in regard to higher kinds of think- 
ing. There is not one amongst you — although this ap- 
plies more effectively to the younger than it does to the 
older — there is not one amongst you who cannot make 
your brain a better instrument than it is now, by habitual 
and regular thinking. It is not such a difficult thing after 
all to give, say, ten minutes' thought to the reading of 
some book which a little bit strains your attention, which 
a little bit taxes your power of thought ; not one of you, 



THE POWER OF THOUGHT. 87 

even on the way to your office, instead of giving the whole 
of your time to the daily paper, but might read if it were 
but a paragraph or two of some book full of noble think- 
ing, full of strenuous thought; and the effect of that 
on you would be that gradually your brain would be 
builded for finer purposes of thought. You would find 
that slowly, unconsciously, but steadily and without fail, 
because law is law and nature never deceives those who 
work in harmony with herself, you would find that your 
thought power was increasing ; you would find your brain 
keener, more alert, more competent, for the ordinary 
business of life. You would find it susceptible to longer 
continued exercise, and you would build your brain as 
regularly as the athlete builds his body, and find that 
you were ever becoming more athletic in your thought 
power, with an instrim^ient which did not fail you when 
you appealed to it to serve. And that is true all round, 
not only with regard to your brain, but also with regard 
to your muscles. Sandow, the strong man, tells those 
who practice the exercises that he has devised for the 
strengthening of the muscles, to think about the muscle 
that they are trying to develop, not to carry on the exer- 
cises thoughtlessly, but to turn their thought and fix it 
on the thing that they are trying to achieve. He is quite 
right. If you bring your thought power to bear on the 
muscle you are trying to develop, life will flow into it 
more fully, growth will take place in it more rapidly. 
This thought power of yours is really creative, even as 
regards the muscular part of the body. By this think- 
ing power you can literally build up your muscular 
strength by directing your thought to the muscular effort 
you are making. 



88 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

Let us turn aside from that part ol our subject, from the 
building of the brain, or the building of muscle. Let 
us take the power of thought in a rather less usual form. 
Now one great difficulty with regard to the application 
of the power of thought is the many thoughts that pre- 
sent themselves when you are trying to think of a single 
object. All of you know that, if you have ever tried to 
think. Well, you cannot concentrate your thought if you 
do not practise it. At first, when you are endeavour- 
ing to fix your thought on one matter, so many other 
thoughts come in that the power of the one thought you 
are dealing with is weakened, just as, when there is a 
current of water and a number of other currents come 
suddenly flowing in, there will be a tossing about of the 
water and foam and rippling in different directions 
instead of a single well-directed stream. But there is 
one way in which we can test the power of thought, when 
we have quite checked all other thoughts; and that, in 
the easiest possible way, is in what is called the mesmeric 
or hypnotic trance. Now, when a person is mesmerised 
or hypnotised, the result of that is to throw the brain out 
of working order. You may carry the hypnotic force to 
the point where the heart has ceased to beat so far as you 
can feel it, where the breath has ceased to pass in and out 
of the lungs so far as you can test it, even by a mirror 
put to the lips ; the mirror will remain undimmed. Only 
by a. delicate instrument applied to the heart or lungs can 
you find out that there are still slight movements going 
on; that the heart has not entirely stopped; the lungs 
have not quite ceased to expand and contract. When 
you have reduced the body to that condition it means 
that the blood is circulating scarcely at all in the blood 



THE POWER OF THOUGHT. 89 

vessels. It means that it has not become properly aerated, 
and oxygen is not in it to the extent necessary for healthy 
functioning. You have thrown your brain into a condi- 
tion which would be called coma, if it were brought 
about by disease. You have checked, as I have said, the 
circulation of the blood, you have not supplied blood 
enough, and good blood enough, to make it possible for 
the brain to function, for thought to work properly. Now 
when you have done that, and when you have, by flash- 
ing an electric light into the eye, found that there is no 
sensitiveness there, when you have fired a pistol beside 
the ear, and have thus shown that the ear is deaf to outer 
sound, what do you find when you come to examine into 
the changes of consciousness, normally carried on 
through the brain? You find that so far from these 
being in any way hindered by the paralysis of their in- 
strimxent, they are very much keener and more active 
and more powerful than they were before. But you 
have opened up your way to a particular line of experi- 
ment. You have made the brain insensitive to all ordi- 
nary things. There are no thoughts going on in it; 
none of the ordinary functions are in activity. The effect 
of shutting all those out is that if you impress on the 
brain something from outside, a suggestion as it is called»^ 
you can bring about the most extraordinary results. That 
suggestion, striking on the brain rendered thus insensi- 
tive, will produce, left alone to work fully, the most 
startling effects on the body. You can produce a wound, 
a burn, a lesion of any kind that you like. Not very long 
ago in Paris a stupid medical student, not understanding, 
presumedly, what he was doing, said to a woman who 
had been hp3motiscd, and who had been sufficiently 



90 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

awakened to hear — for that may be done, whilst still the 
rest of the nervous system is gripped in the hypnotic 
trance — " This iron I hold up (one of the surgical instru- 
ments) is red hot." He put it on her chest. He pro- 
duced a frightful burn; and over and over again experi- 
ments of that sort have been tried — cruel and wicked, 
but proving the fact that by the mere suggestion of an 
injury that injury appears. And if any time, when you 
happen to be travelling to Paris, you care to go to the 
Salpetriere Hospital, the doctors there will show you 
many photographs that they have taken, photographs of 
injuries inflicted on the body purely by the power of 
thought. You can make a blister by taking up a bit of 
blotting paper, dipping it in water, placing it on the flesh 
and saying: "It is a blister." You can thus induce in- 
flammation, the red skin, the water within the blister, 
and the pain of the ordinary blister, all produced by 
thought, by suggestion, without the ordinary physical 
medium. Or you may do the reverse if you like. You 
may take a real blister and put it on the patient's body 
and say: " It is only a piece of paper dipped in water," 
and the effects of the blister do not follow; the skin 
remains uninjured, and no blister is produced. You can 
play with the human body by thought, either harming 
or not harming it exactly as you please. 

These are not questions where dispute is possible 
among the educated. These things have been done over 
and over again, and over and over again are the same 
effects produced. But take experiments of a different 
kind which are not cruel in that way. Take one that 
I myself saw performed, copying a thing that I had read 
in a French book. There was a young man who was very 



THE POWER OF THOUGHT. 91 

sensitive to hypnotic influence — ^mesmeric influence, 
rather. He was mesmerised, thrown for a moment into 
a trance. In the trance he was told: '* When you wake 
up you will not be able to see Mrs. Besant ; you will see 
everybody else, but she will be invisible." He 
was waked up out of the trance, and he 
seemed quite normal. He talked in the ordi- 
nary way, behaved as he had behaved before he 
was in the trance, but he could not see me. He was told 
by one of the other people present to count the people 
in the room, and he pointed to them ; he pointed to every- 
body else but missed me. Then I took up a handkerchief 
and I walked about the room carrying the handkerchief, 
and he followed me with his eyes. Somebody said to 
him : " Well, what are you looking at?" He said: " That 
is very queer; that handkerchief is moving about in the 
air; what joke are you playing upon me? I can see it 
moving about, but there is nothing supporting it." I 
went further. I took a playing card, and I put the play- 
ing card — without looking at it, and without allowing 
anyone else to look at it, to avoid what is called thought 
transference — ^behind my back ; and he was asked to read 
it. He said : "There is a card flying in the air." They 
said : " Tell us what the card is." He answered at once, 
giving the suit of the card, and the number of the pips 
upon it, showing that I was so invisible to him that he 
was even able to read through my body. Many other 
experiments of the same kind I have myself tried, over 
and over again, in order to test the written records and 
see whether these records are accurate and true. And 
so I have learned by my own experimenting that it is 
perfectly possible to inhibit the senses, exactly as far as 



92 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

you choose, by your own suggestion imposed on the mes- 
merised s^abject. You car make him either see or not 
see, hear, or not hear, feel or not feel. One day, in 
the very early days of my experiments, when I did not 
understand the thing perhaps as well as I do now, I very 
nearly had an accident in that way, for I had mes- 
merised a young man who was very sensitive to mes- 
merism. A young fellow he was, very athletic, not of 
very strong intelligence, and I told him he should not be 
able to see me ; and, thoughtlessly rather — I did not con- 
sider the result — I put out my hand and touched his 
shoulder and spoke to him. He heard my voice, and he 
felt my touch, but he could not see me, and the effect 
was that he very nearly had a fit of terror, and I had to 
remove the impression at once, so that he could see as 
well as hear and feel. I only mention these cases to 
show you how utterly the human body and the human 
senses are mere playthings for thought, and how with any 
person under control in that fashion you can deal with 
him as you like. " Well," you say, " it is simply that 
these people were mesmerised." That is true, and the 
value of the mesmerism is that it shuts out the ordinary 
thought impressions. If you are able to think strongly 
and clearly, then you can impress your thought, without 
any need of the mesmeric trance to help you, on the per- 
son upon whom you choose to impress it. The only 
advantage of the mesmeric trance is the shutting out of 
all the thoughts of the person mesmerised, and all 
thoughts coming from outside, except your own thought 
alone, which you impress upon his brain. 

Now take another case, which goes very much further 
than the ordinary experiment. You have probably heard 



THE POWIR OF THOUGHT. 93 

of some of the Indian tricks played by Indian jugglers, 
and raising much surprise; and you may have sometimes 
heard it said by conjurers here : " Oh, we can do the 
same thing." They can do it by apparatus; the Indian 
does it without, and that is all the difference. I grant 
to the full that people like Maskelyne and Cook, in their 
own hall, with their own platform, and their own appara- 
tus, can reproduce, to some extent at least, to an audience 
sitting away from the platform on which their tricks 
are being played, some of the tricks played by the Indian 
jugglers. But the conditions are very different. An Indian 
comes into your house, naked, except for a cloth 
thrown around his middle, so that he can hide nothing 
in the bare arms and bare chest; he comes along with a 
basket on his back, a common basket, and throws it down, 
and lets you pick it up and look at it exactly as you 
please. He puts it down on your own verandah, or in 
your own house, and he invites you all to sit around it, 
with him and the basket, and the child who is with him, 
and you make a circle round him, and you look at him. 
Then he does his basket trick. You see him put the little 
child in the common basket, and rope it up, and then 
you see him stick his sword through the basket, and you 
hear screams, and you see blood come out. But presently 
the little child comes running in from the other side of 
the verandah. You open the basket and it is empty. 
What has happened? A hypnotic trick and nothing 
more. He won't do it twice over running. He says : 
" No, I will do it to-morrow, I won't do it again to-day." 
If you would know the way it is done, it is nothing 
more than a mere illusion imposed upon the senses. You 
can watch exactly what he does, and you will notice be- 



94 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

fore he begins, as he sits there with all of you sitting 
around him, he begins chanting a curious little chant, 
very, very monotonous, the same rhythm repeated over 
.and over again; and though you may not be conscious 
of it, that monotonous vibration is paralysing your brain 
and your senses. He is doing exactly what the hypnotist 
does when he paralyses the brain of his patient, and he 
is producing what is called a collective hallucination, 
not on one patient, but on all the people around him, by 
the trick that he has learned to perform. What you think 
you see is what he is thinking about ; that which he deter- 
mines you shall see. It is obvious it does not take place, 
but you see it taking place by the force of his thought 
imposing an hallucination upon you, and in that way they 
do their tricks. The famous rope trick is done in the 
open street. You can see the rope go up, and stand 
suspended in the air, and a boy run up it and disappear 
at the top ; and then a man goes up after him with a 
knife, and he also disappears, and sometimes the mutila- 
ted limbs of the boy are thrown down on the ground; 
then afterwards they both walk in quite comfortably, 
from behind the crowd, take up the rope and go off. That 
was seen a year or two ago in a street in Surat, and when 
Maskelyne and Cook spoke about their trick as ''the In- 
dian rope trick," a lady doctor, a friend of mine, wrote 
to the papers and pointed out that she had seen that trick 
done in India, but that it was done not as Maskelyne and 
Cook did it, but was performed under her own window 
in the open street, with no apparatus at all, except the 
rope the man had twisted around him before he undid it, 
and threw it up in the air. It is all hypnotism and noth- 
ing else. If you photographed the trick, you would not 



THE POWER OF THOUGHT. 95 

see all this. You saw it because he chose that you should 
see it, and because the Indian conjurer had learned to 
impose his own thought on the brains of a number of 
people who were gathered around him. Now, I mention 
that to show how strong the power of thought may be 
in producing an illusion. And if it can produce and im- 
print an illusion upon wide-awake people, and make the 
picture that the man determines they shall see, does it 
not open some avenues of possibility for the strange won- 
ders that may be wrought by thinking? And when you 
know that these things can be done, either that you can 
make people see what you like, and hear what you like, 
or that, if you be indifferent enough to human pain, you 
can form wounds and lesions of the body, by the mere 
power of thinking, does it then seem so strange that you 
can think along safer lines, and heal instead of injure, 
destroy sickness and create health, instead of produce an 
illusion of the senses? That is what underlies all the 
talk you hear about mental science, and Christian 
Science, and the rest. They are dealing with a real law, 
with a real power in nature, this power of thought ; they 
are utilising that for the healing of disease ; and disease 
may thus be healed, as all know, who have looked care- 
fully into it. When you read sometimes of what are 
called miracles of healing, it is only the same thought- 
power applied to people sensitive and eager to meet the 
thought of the healer, with the longing to be healed- 
There is no real doubt that large numbers of these so- 
called miracles are wrought at Lourdes, and many other 
places. Now it is no answer to say that is is only imagi- 
nation. Of course it is only imagination, but the 
imagination brings about the cure. And how have you 



96 AUSTRALIAN LfiCtURSS I90S. 

shaken the fact of the cure when you say it is imagina- 
tion? Nobody says it is anything else. If imagination 
is able to cure, and if cure is what you are seeking, what 
does it matter whether it is imagination or some drug 
which you find in your pharmacopoeia? The doctor does 
not say if he succeeds in healing by medicine : " Oh, it is 
only the medicine that did it." He has got what he wants 
— the cure ; and if you can get the cure by the power of 
thought applied to the patient what is the sense of saying 
it is only imagination, when your patient, who was sick, 
is cured, your diseased patient is healed? I grant it is no 
miracle. I grant that to call it a miracle shows ignor- 
ance, and not knowledge. I grant it is only a power of 
nature, a law of nature, understood and utilised. But 
it only shows ignorance to deny the possibility of it ; and 
it shows more than ignorance, it shows prejudice, if you 
admit as valid, miracles that happened 1900 years ago, 
when you cannot examine into the evidence, and yet 
deny the similar miracles that happen to-day, when the 
evidence lies open for anyone to examine. That is where 
religious people are not quite fair. They admit their own 
miracles, provided they are old enough, but they will not 
admit any other people^s miracles, especially when they 
are modern. But you know that is not reason; that is 
mere prejudice. It is not fair dealing. It is only using 
the prejudice of creed to deny what you do not like, 
because you think it would bring credit to a community 
which has not exactly the same label on it that your own 
may happen to have. There is too much of that, and 
that sort of prejudice will disappear when it is under- 
stood what laws of nature underlie all those so-called 
miracles, a higher force, brought down and applied on 



THE POWER OF THOUGMX, 97 

the physical plane ; no more a miracle than your talking 
across the telephone wire, and that would seem a miracle 
to the savage. As for miracle in the sense of a thing 
contrary to the law of nature, there is no such thing; 
for every law is an expression of the Divine nature, which 
knows no change nor shadow of turning. If you say that it 
is the utilisation of a force that many people do not know, 
yes, it is; that it is the control by the will of natural 
powers that most people are still ignorant of, yes; that 
the person's own thought goes with it, and thereby 
renders the thought more effective, most certainly yes. 
I admit to the full what is called the power of faith. The 
person expects it. Then his thought works in with the 
other thought, and so applies it to his own particular case. 
Now it is sometimes asked : Is it possible to heal diseases 
which are not nervous? because, for some mysterious 
reason, quite unintelligible, people say : '* Oh, yes, you 
may heal nervous diseases by thought, but not others." 
It is not very clear why you should heal one and not the 
other, and the method of operating is not explained by 
those who challenge the possibility of healing beyond 
diseases of the nerves. It is true that it is easier to apply 
it to the diseases of the nerves, because the nervous sys- 
tem is the normal mechanism whereby thought is ex- 
pressed on the physical plane. You play upon your 
nerves by thought more readily than you do upon your 
muscles, or your bones; hence, it is easier to deal with 
the nerve than with the muscle or bone. Atrophy of the 
nerves is one of the diseases that no doctor can cure by 
drugs, but it is curable by what is called mesmerism, by 
utilising thought for the cure of the disease. In my own 
narrow experience of this — for I have not dealt with 



98 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

these questions of cure much in my life, because it is not 
one of the lines on which I work, I have no time — but in 
my own very narrow experience, I have known two cases 
of blindness, caused by the beginning of atrophy of the 
optic nerve, cured by thought, after they had unhesita- 
tingly been declared incurable by the doctors to whom 
the patients had gone. Now diseases of the nerves are 
about the easiest things to cure where you utilise thought, 
because you are dealing with part of the mechanism of 
thought, and nerve answers more readily to thought than 
the structures and tissues which are not ordinarily 
worked on by thought in the same way. To heal a wound 
by thought is a far more difficult thing than to heal 
atrophy; but none the less it can be done, as may be 
shown by those experiments that I mentioned in the Sal- 
petriere Hospital in Paris. What is really wanted in 
those cases, where the mental scientist is going to try to 
heal absolute lesions in the body, is that he shall not only 
have power of thought, not only have a strong will, but 
also shall be trained anatomically and physiologically. 
So many of these people work blindly, where they ought 
to work with knowledge. If, instead of taking the power 
of thought only, they would be reasonable enough to 
study the anatomy and physiology of the human frame, 
they could apply their power of thought ten times more 
efficaciously than they do for the most part. They work 
blindly, where they might work with knowledge; work 
by using a law they have not sufficiently studied, rather 
than by using the least possible force necessary to bring 
about what they desire, supplementing the force by the 
knowledge of exactly what they want. 

Now how should you proceed in such a case? Know- 



THE POWER OF THOUGHT. 99 

ing the anatomy and the physiology of the part you want 
to affect, you produce by thought a picture of that injured 
part in a perfectly healthy condition. That is the first 
stage. By your thought you make the picture of what 
that part ought to be. Having thus created the picture, 
you proceed to imagine it into the place where the injury 
is, and by that means, bringing the thought to bear on 
the exact spot, you stimulate the recuperative powers in 
the body to perform swiftly what otherwise they would 
perform slowly, to build up quickly in the injured tissue 
what otherwise they would only build very gradually. 
And in all these cases, you must do it day after day, just 
because you cannot actually perform miracles, but only 
hasten the normal workings of nature. For instance, in 
those cases of atrophy I mentioned, it meant working 
steadily for a week in one case, and three or four weeks 
in the other, where the nerve was more depleted, the 
daily pouring in of the new life, the daily creation by the 
thought of the cure that you desired to effect ; and under 
that the changes take place; under that the builders in 
the body work more energetically, more swiftly, and 
therefore more effectively. And there is not, I should be 
inclined to say, one human disease which might not thus 
be cured by thought wisely directed and brought to bear 
with knowledge on the part which has been injured. If, 
on the other hand, you ask me whether I think it is al- 
ways worth while — well, no, I do not. But that is a 
different thing. I do not think it is always wise to use 
thought for the healing of physical disease and physical 
injury. I think that very often the result of such think- 
ing is the making of the body far too sensitive to these 
things, through thinking far too much about the body. 



100 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908 

Instead of utilising it as your servant, it becomes your 
master. That is the danger which runs along all these 
lines of Christian Science, applied only to disease, and 
Mental Science in the same way. Your body becomes the 
thing about which you think, and if you come across these 
people, they are always talking about bodies and always 
talking about pains and aches, and how they cured them- 
selves, and that kind of thing — how they cured this, that 
and the other. The body then becomes a nuisance rather 
than a useful instrument, and I do not think it is worth 
while thus to utilise thought; for thought has far more 
noble uses than the mere curing of bodies, making cures 
that a strong will can effect, and a powerful mind can 
manage. That is why, although I acknowledge the pos- 
sibility, I should not myself use thought to any great 
extent along those lines. 

But now let us take another effect of thought, which 
it is worth while to think of for a moment, before I take 
up its greatest and most valuable power. I was speaking 
about the various lines of scientific thought which had 
led to this idea of its enormous power, and you may 
be aware probably that electrical and chemical changes 
are brought about by thought; and it is well to realise 
that, because it shows you the mechanism of the mind. 
People say sometimes: "How can thought affect matter?" 
If you realise these intervening links you will see how 
the effect takes place. If a galvanometer is put on your 
head and you think, an electric current will be set up 
in the brain, and its presence will be shown by the swing 
of the needle of the galvanometer. A doctor in London 
has carried on many investigations as to the effect of 
emotions on the normal perspiration or sweating of the 



THE POWER OF THOUGHT. 101 

body. He finds chemical changes are brought about by 
emotions. Acids, alkalies, etc., are set free under the 
influence of emotion. Another doctor, this time in Paris 
(Dr. Baraduc) has taken a large number of photographs, 
very interesting they are to look over, in which he says 
that he has photographed emotion and thought. Now, 
frankly, although he says he has done it, I do not think 
he has really done that. What I think he has done in 
his photographs is that he has caught the swirl of mag- 
netic currents in the ether, which '^.re produced by the 
thinking. Emotional thought, as far as I at present 
know, is too fine to be subjected to the photographic 
process. There is no doubt he has obtained results. He 
will show you a })icttire of a nun in prayer. You can 
see playing around her a great whirl of moving matter, 
tending upwards. Now, the doctor records that as the 
direct thought embodied in the prayer. My own view 
rather would be that it is a magnetic result, caused in 
physical ether by the vibrating matter, which is really 
answering to the change in consciousness, but which is 
not, 1 think, psychical matter. None the less, he has 
obtained 3 very interesting series of photographs of vibra- 
tions which yoa can correlate with changes in conscious- 
ness, bat which are, I suggest, produced by physical 
forces working in the ether of the physical plane. That, 
however, brings me to the point towards which I was 
aiming, of the results which can be brought about by 
well-directed thought of the higher kind. 

Now firb\ for a moment let us pass to what religion 
calls prayer. [s that a force which can pro- 
duce definite results? You may remember long 
ago that Professor Tyndall, when he was speak- 



102 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

ing about prayer and arguing against it, chal- 
lenged the Christian world to an experiment. " Why 
not," he said, '* take two wards in a hospital, filled by 
patients, who are suffering from a similar disease, who 
shall be treated just in the same way by doctors and by 
nurses ; then, pray for those in the one and do not pray 
for those in the other, and compare the results." Well, 
I always have wished, since I knew the power of thought, 
that the Christian Churches had accepted Professor Tyn- 
dall's challenge. They would not do it. They said it 
was blasphemous. I do not see why. There is nothing 
blasphemous about it. If prayer can heal, why not have 
accepted the challenge? Personally, I should have been 
quite willing to accept the challenge in that way, because 
I believe you would find the people who were prayed for 
would be healed very much more quickly than the people 
who were not. Prayer is concentrated thought, with a 
power of love behind it. Now thought is dual in its 
nature: on one side a change of consciousness, on the 
other side a corresponding vibration in matter. There 
is no change of consciousness without a vibration in 
matter, hovrever fine; there is no vibration in matter 
without a change of consciousness. If you have the 
change of consciousness that you call prayer, which is 
concentrated by the earnestness of the suppliant, you 
get a correspondingly powerful vibration in the matter 
of the finer, subtler worlds, and this can produce physical 
effects, just in the same way as the invisible wind, which 
is matter in a finer state than water, tosses up the denser 
water into waves or ripples. Finer forces can work on 
the grosser matter through the gradations downward 
from the matter which first they had set moving; and 



THE POWER OF THOUGHT. 103 

there is nothing unscientific nor unreasonable in the idea 
that by the thought force of prayer you can bring about 
physical results; but not always only by thought. There 
is another way also, which I can hardly quite leave out, 
by which these results are often brought about. Intel- 
ligence is not confined to you and me, taking you and 
me as representing the physical inhabitants of the world. 
There are plenty of other people who do not use bodies 
as gross as ours, who nevertheless are moving about us all 
the time; a prayer will very often be noticed by them, 
and they will bring about the result which is aimed at. 
But that is only another reason for praying, if there are 
people who by that prayer may be moved to do what you, 
unassisted, cannot do ; and that is what Sir Oliver Lodge 
has pointed out. He has argued that there is nothing 
unscientific in the idea that prayer may be answered. He 
has pointed out that a child may ask his father to hand 
him down something he cannot reach. There is nothing 
unscientific in the father doing that, and giving him the 
object that the child asks for; there is nothing unscientific 
in asking the gardener to water the garden when you 
cannot water it yourself. Science was too much in a 
hurry in the days of Huxley; Science was too quick to 
lay down the law from conclusions insufficiently con- 
sidered. The weakness in the science of the last cen- 
tury was that the area of knowledge was too limited, 
and it hastily built up a body of conclusions which wider 
knowledge has broken into pieces. For wider knowledge 
now shows that the claims of the religious world can be 
justified by facts, although the way in which the reli- 
gious world has put them is certainly crude and unscien- 
tific. Still, if the claims are based on realities, the fact 



104 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

that they have put the reality badly is not such a serious 
matter after all if the effect is secured. Now, take a case 
like that of George Miiller of Bristol. That man de- 
clared that he never used anj^thing but prayer to get the 
money with which he kept up his orphan asylum. I 
have never heard his good faith challenged. He was a 
quiet, honest, pious man, unique in the strength of his 
thought and will, and that man tells us : ''I had all 
these orphans dependent upon me, I asked for so much 
money, and it always came.'' I believe it did. I have 
done the same thing myself without praying. At one time, 
when I wanted a thousand pounds for a girls' club in 
the East End of London, I simply willed to get it. It 
came in all right. Honestly, I do not think it is quite 
the best way to get things. I do not say that I would do 
it now ; I would not, because I believe that these higher 
intelligences, who work with men and for men, can judge 
better with regard to any particular thing whether it is 
well that money should be sent to it or not ; and I prefer, 
therefore, to leave it to them either to help or not. I 
always find that the money does come in, without either 
willing or praying for it, for anything which is good in 
its object and serviceable to human beings. Being not 
quite so sure of my own wisdom as I was many years ago, 
I prefer leaving such matters to people who see very much 
further than I do, and I do not either will or pray for 
these particular things. But there is one use of prayer 
that ought never to be forgotten. It opens up the human 
heart to higher influences, and to greater forces. It puts 
the man in the receptive attitude which enables greater 
Intelligences to help, and the Divine life itself to enter 
into the human spirit, which has really only opened its 



IHE POWER OF THOUGHT. 105 

shutters to the light. Just as when the sun is shining, 
if you open your shutters the sun will shine into your 
room, so if you open the closed shutters of your mind and 
heart Divine love and light and life flow in at the open 
window, and the spirit which opens itself to divinity is 
filled with divinity, not because divinity changes, but be- 
cause the human vessel has been opened to receive the 
flood of light. Therefore, whether they understand it or 
not, it matters not, it is good for men to pray. As soon 
as they understand the working, they can adopt other 
methods if they will; but so long as man exists, and 
mightier Intelligences surround him for his helping, so 
long will the elder lead the younger, the greater help the 
lesser ; and that mighty Father-heart, which has room for 
every grief and every suffering, will send the love of His 
heart into those who open themselves to receive it, and 
thus prayers will ever be used by those who know the 
higher experiences of the spiritual life. 

Turn from that, and let us see what else thought may 
do. In a sense you can make your own character what 
you like by thought. I am not exaggerating it, and if 
you think I am, try. Remember that one hour of your 
own experience is worth more than many hours of my 
lecturing to you. You will be more sure when you have 
done one experiment in thought, than you would be by 
any amount of arguing which comes from me, which is, 
after all, only second-hand to you. So let me tell you 
exactly how to carry out such an experiment, and then 
you can try it if you will. Look at your own character, 
and judge its powers and its weaknesses. Pick out any 
weakness you like, it does not matter which. Say you are 
irritable — a very common thing in these hurrying days. 



106 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

You say: *' I am an irritable person." When you have 
once said that, never think of it again. Do not mourn 
over it, do not feel remorse; it will only make it worse, 
for you are throwing thought force into it every time you 
think of it, and that is why so many people never get rid 
of their faults. They are always mourning over their 
sins. If they threw them quite away behind them, and 
never thought of them, they would get rid of them very 
much more quickly, for thought vitalises anything we 
think about. If you think of your weakness, it becomes 
more and more a fact by your thought. Now do not think 
of your irritability. Think of patience, the exact opposite 
of the irritability; calmness, serenity, peace; and give 
a few minutes every morning to thinking steadily of that 
serenity; every day only for a few minutes at a time. 
Think of yourself as perfect in patience, perfect in seren- 
ity, perfect in calmness, and, if you will go on doing 
that steadily day after day, at the end of two or three 
weeks, or a month, you will find that you are beginning 
instinctively to be patient. You will find that irritability 
is diminishing, that you no longer feel inclined to be 
irritable. Slowly the patience will grow up in you, and 
you will become patient, almost unconsciously to your- 
self. Now, if there is any likelihood that that is true, it 
is worth trying, because, after all, it only needs a few 
minutes a day, say for a month ; and if you find there is 
no result, then if you think well throw it aside. I have 
tried it for many, many years. For the last more than 
19 years I have been trying experiments along that line, 
and I find it works. I find you can make whatever 
character you like by steady thinking of that kind. The 
only condition is it shall be steady and regular until the 



THE POWER OF THOUGHT. 107 

habit is established. You know you can make habits of 
ordinary life, that what you do with trouble at first, 
afterwards gradually becomes instinctive. Some of you 
have learnt to play the piano. It gave you a lot of 
trouble when you began ; you had to watch your fingers. 
You know how a little child begins to play, looking at 
the fingers as hard as he can all the time, making faces 
over it in the funny way a child does, because the whole 
body is working for the one thing the child is trying to 
do. After a time the finished musician never needs to 
look at his fingers at all; he has made a habit of his 
work. The same with writing; you used to think how to 
form your letters when you were learning to write, now 
you do it as a matter of course, or your fingers do it for 
you, and it is only if you want to change your writing, 
if you find you are getting slovenly, that you need trouble 
about thinking of it at all. You can do just the same 
with your character. At first it will be toilsome, just as 
were the writing and the playing, needing a great deal 
of attention. But as you go on thinking and thinking, 
you will build the qualities, and they will become habits, 
and when you have established the habits, they make char- 
acter, and then you have no trouble about it at all. Some 
people think that effort is the thing that deserves credit. 
They will say of a man who is truthful it is no credit to 
him to speak the truth; he does it by instinct. That is 
the highest credit you can have. It is the man who can 
do the right without eflfort, who really deserves praise, if 
praise should be given at all. Struggle means that you 
have yet to get the better of the difficulty; to do the 
thing without effort means that you have deliberately 
built it, and now you possess it, and no man is perfect 



108 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

until everything he does is done without effort, as part of 
his instinctive nature. 

And this lecture will have failed of its object if there 
are not a few of you who will take up definite thinking, 
directed to a chosen end. You do not progress, because 
your thoughts are all ov r the place all the time, because 
to-day you are trying one thing, and to-morrow another, 
and on the next day you are at something else, and you 
wonder why you do not get on. Well if you want to 
succeed, it means steady persistent thought along one 
line. A mason who is going to build a house does not 
put a brick here one day, another there another day, 
somewhere else the next day, and then in somebody 
else's garden the following day, and across the road 
some other day. Why if he did it would be a long time 
before he got his house built. That is what you are 
doing with your character. To-day you are trying to be 
truthful, to-morrow patient, and the next day sympa- 
thetic, and so on, and you wonder why you never get any 
result at all, and you mean so well, too — you are trying 
to be '* good." Give up the trying. Concentrate and 
practice in thought on one thing at a time, and thus build 
in the qualities, and then you will make progress and the 
goodness will be inevitable as progress is made. You 
want to be more practical, far more practical than for 
the most part you are to-day; to understand your power 
and know your creative ability. The whole World, the 
whole Universe, is only a thought of God, and you will 
grow into God's image and His powers will be repro- 
duced in miniature in yourselves. You can build your- 
selves as He builds His worlds by that creative thought, 
the power of the imagination and the power of the will. 



THE POWER OF THOUGHT. 109 

These are the divine powers in every one of you, though 
more developed in one than in the other. And as you pro- 
gress in the power of thought and build yourselves by 
that power your character shall grow nobler, your lives 
more beautiful, your power to help stronger and stronger, 
until in time you shall awaken to know that you have 
built yourself into a world's helper, and that the power 
of thought in you has grown into the power to save. 



The Guardians of Humanity. 

There are some histories which are written entirely 
from the outside, and there are some students of history 
who only care to study the outer movements, the political 
constitution, the events and battles, the lives of kings 
and statesmen, of generals and admirals, which to them 
make up history. There are others who look a littlt 
deeper, and who see in history the succession of economic 
movements, of social conditions. Others who look yet 
more deeply consider that the thought currents of the 
nation, which work themselves out in economic or social 
or political conditions, are the real interest in historical 
study, and that the eyes of the real student should be 
fixed on the thoughts that create rather than upon the 
events that embody those thoughts. And there is one 
view of history which is still deeper than any of the 
three preceding ones, the view which is taken often by 
the poet and by the artist, and always by the student and 
believer in religion, that behind the kings and the states- 
men, behind the economic movements and the currents 
of human thought there are mightier Intelligences, 
greater Powers, who use the outward agents and who 
guide the human destinies; Intelligences more developed 
than the human. Powers mightier than the powers of 

(110) 



THE GUARDIANS OF HUMANITY. Ill 

kings or statesmen, who work out a mighty plan of the 
world-process, and who use the thoughts and the powers 
of men as the tools whereby the world-process is carried 
on. And also, looking at the world for a moment more 
from the scientific than from the historical aspect, there 
are two contrasted views that attract minds of different 
temperaments. Some see in nature a vast mechanism; 
regarding all the forces of nature as mechanical forces, 
blind, unconscious, clashing the one against the other, 
and through the course of innumerable ages bringing 
out the order and harmony that we see. To such thinkers 
the various organisms that inhabit the globe have been 
built up by arrangements of matter producing the phe- 
nomena of life. They see in nature a soulless organisa- 
tion; they see in man but the highest product of evolu- 
tion; they do not see life as embodying itself in matter, 
but rather matter, by its arrangements, as producing, 
blossoming into, life. Over against that view is the view 
that looks upon nature as the outward expression of intel- 
ligence, the embodiment, the incarnation, of thought; 
which sees in all the forces of nature living intelligences 
continually at work ; which sees at the head of all intel- 
ligences the wisdom that plans and the power that accom- 
plishes. Sir William Crookes, summing up in his Presi- 
dential Address to the British Association for the Ad- 
vancement of Science, the change which had come over 
the mind of Science during the many years which had 
elapsed since Professor Tyndall occupied the chair of 
the British Association until he himself was sitting in 
that same high place, marked the change of thought, 
these changing views of the scientific world, by quoting 
the statement of Tyndall that " we were learning to see 



112 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

in matter the promise and potency of every form of life/' 
and declaring that now the tendency of thought was to 
see in life the moulder and shaper of matter. Now it is 
this second view that I am going to put before you this 
evening, tracing, if I can, for you to some extent the 
forces that lie behind the phenomena of human life, the 
plan on which the world process, the evolution of the 
world, is taking place. 

In the view that I am going to submit to you we see 
life, intelligence, everywhere; we see the world as the 
field of evolution, not only of the human race, of the ani- 
mal, the vegetable and the mineral kingdoms, but also 
as the field of evolution of invisible beings bound up in 
their evolution with the evolution of the hiunan race, and 
of the kingdoms below humanity in nature; we see not 
only living intelligences evolving on our planet, but we 
see beyond these " planetary relations," as Myers calls 
them, the *' cosmic relations " stretching beyond the limits 
of our own planet, and bringing us into relation with 
other worlds and with the inhabitants of other realms; 
and we see — taking part in human evolution and directing 
it, shaping the world for the inhabitants it bears, pre- 
paring our globe for the lines of evolution which are to 
develop upon it — mighty Workers, powerful Intelli- 
gences, working out a plan of marvellous wisdom, and 
utilising forces mighty in their scope, resistless in their 
power. And this great plan of the world-process, shaping 
the world and its products, and guiding the destinies of 
man, is, as it were, the ground plan, the outline, into 
which many details are to be worked, and in which a con- 
tinual filling-out is taking place. We see, as it were, the 
great Architect of the Universe, confiding His plans into 



THE GUARDIANS OF HUMANITY. J 13 

the hands of mighty viceroys ; these handing it on again 
in sections to intelligences less mighty, though still super- 
human; these, in their turn, handing on still smaller 
portions to rulers who rule over smaller areas, who deal 
with less mighty forces. Or, to take another analogy, we 
see a great drama being played out on the stage of the 
world, and the dramatist hands it over to the stage man- 
ager, and the stage manager casts the actors for their 
parts, which they make more or less vivid, more or less 
important, according to their individual capacities; free 
to initiate within certain limits ; free to move within cer- 
tain limitations. So in the universal law, there is a 
single Will to which all must bow, and the reproduction 
of that Will in the various individuals, human and super- 
human, concerned ; and there is the possibility, where you 
are dealing with the less evolved intelligences, of mis- 
takes, mistakes due to limited thought and limited intelli- 
gence, even as among ourselves. And we see in this great 
Hierarchy of various grades of knowledge and of power, 
that while the higher ones, the rulers, may be vast in 
power and intelligence and mighty in the force of their 
will, yet the lower grades are more liable to error; the 
lower grades may often fail in their achievement, even 
as men, the servants in this world- family, also fail in 
intelligence and fail in power of achievement. And we 
see that just as the wiser may correct the mistakes of the 
less wise, and the stronger may help to shoulder the 
burdens of the weak, so in the higher ranks of these 
great Intelligences there are knowledge and power 
which, while leaving those who blunder to learn wisdom 
by the errors that they make, also use the results of those 
errors to restore equilibrium in relation to other errors 



114 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

that are made, and by balancing the one against the 
other bring out at last a perfect and satisfactory result. 
Such is the general idea. Glancing through the outer to 
the inner, from the seen to the unseen, but realising that 
everywhere intelligence and law are at work in the world- 
process, we see beings far greater than we are, but with 
intelligence like ours and knowledge that is limited, tak- 
ing part in the evolution of humanity, sharing in the 
making of its destinies, and destined to share in the 
triumph of its perfection. 

Now among the different religions different names 
are given to these intelligences. The Hebrews, the Chris- 
tians, and the Mussulmans take the higher ranks of them 
all together and call them archangels or angels, and mass 
the lower ranks again together under various names — 
genii, fairies, and so on. And among the occultists of 
the Middle Ages we notice that they use still other 
terms, such as elementals, nature-spirits, and the like. In 
the older Eastern Religions, like the Hindu and the 
Buddhist, a somewhat deeper and closer analysis has been 
made of these many forces that mingle in the guidance 
of human destiny. They admit the presence of these 
superhuman intelligences, giving them the general name 
of " Shining Ones," a name which, for some curious rea- 
son, John Bunyan caught up in his " Pilgrim's Progress," 
using the very same term, '* shining ones," which is the 
translation of the Hindu or Buddhist name of " Deva," 
often translated as God — a mis-translation, I may remind 
you. These higher beings with them are the equivalents 
of the Christian archangels and angels; but they say it 
is not only they who have to do with the guiding of 
human evolution. Human evolution has been going on 



THE GUARDIANS OF HUMANITY. 115 

through vast periods of time, and is not confined to a 
single planet, is not limited to one only of the globes 
that circle round our sun. Other inhabited worlds there 
are on which evolution is taking place, some on which 
evolution is much further advanced than it is upon our 
own globe. Here in our own world also evolution has 
been going on for ages and ages, and the fruitage of past 
evolution, the results of the process to which you and I 
are being subjected to-day, the unfolding of powers, the 
development of thought, all these in the past have also 
been going on, with the result that there are now in exis- 
tence beings, human in their nature, the product of himian 
evolution, though they have been longer in the evolu- 
tionary process than we, and are therefore further 
evolved, as we are evolved beyond the savage, 
as we are developed beyond the aboriginal, say, 
of this great continent on which you live; as 
the savage is to us, so are we to them; as 
the savage and we are evolving, so have they evolved 
beyond us. They are the Elder Brothers of the Race. 
They beyond all others may rightly be termed the Guar- 
dians of Humanity — men as we are men, products of a 
longer evolution, but products of evolution none the less 
as we also are products, the first-born, to use a Biblical 
expression, the first-born among many brethren, showing 
in the perfection of their humanity the promise of what 
all of us shall ultimately become. It is They who are 
the founders of the Great Religions of the world. They 
whose knowledge, overtopping the human, has reached 
the deepest recesses of the spiritual world, and brought 
out the treasures that therein They have found. They 
are the great revealers to humanity, the prophets and the 
seers of human kind ; They are dwelling with us still in 



116 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

order to help forward our evolution and to guide our 
feeble steps to the heights which they have climbed. 
They are rightly called the Saviours of the world, They 
the Masters to whom the younger humanity looks up, 
They w^ho are the promise of the future, and who show 
out in perfection what we can only show in the bud that 
precedes the perfect flower. It is the mighty Spiritual 
Intelligences that are called angels; and it is the highly 
evolved human beings whom we Theosophists call 
Masters — the name, let me remind you, claimed by Jesus 
Himself when He bade His disciples call none their 
Master upon earth, '* for One is your Master even 
Christ." 

Using these names, we have the two great classes of 
the Guardians of Hmnanity in the full sense of the 
term, and it is specially with their relations to the race 
that I want to deal to-night. Before passing into detail 
out of this more general sketch, let me remind you that 
within the large class of Devas, or angels, there are the 
great Beings who have to deal with the evolution of 
nature outside man and outside the animal and the other 
kingdoms of nature, who are concerned with the shaping 
of the world itself, with the changes brought about in 
the configuration of the globe, the forces that prepare 
the globe for man and change it in subordination to his 
needs and to enable it to co-operate in his evolution. 
Sometimes these forces show themselves in destruction 
of terrible kinds, sometimes in the slow building up of 
continents and the gradual changes in nature. But 
whether they work in storm and ruin, or whether they 
work in slow and gradual construction, they are none the 
less beneficent in their action, and guide it to definite 



THE GUARDIANS OF HUMANITY. 117 

ends. Use your imagination for a moment, throwing it 
back into the early ages of our globe ere yet it had 
assumed the outside appearances that now distinguish it, 
and see those mighty forces at work, forces that appear 
to be working destruction, that appear to be rending, 
crushing, driving, and yet are all co-operating to a fore- 
seen end. Glance back in imagination to the ice-clad 
peaks, to the fields of eternal snow on the gigantic moun- 
tain ranges of past geological ages; see how from these 
comes sliding down a huge glacier, ploughing a vast 
furrow through the mountain, just like a plough with 
its mighty share, forcing its way onward until the broad, 
deep furrow is cut through the mountain belt. See how 
it destroys everything, pulverises rocks, crushes the craggy 
precipices into the mountain side; noise, tumult every- 
where; apparently the forces of destruction are at work. 
And now close again the eyes of your imagination and 
open them some ages later, and where that mighty glacier 
ploughed out its destructive course a valley is laughing 
into flowers in the sunshine; fertile soil irrigated by the 
rippling river is putting on its golden vesture of ripe 
corn, and the white blossoms of the fruit trees every- 
where in the spring-time mimic, as it were, the ice and 
the snow that created their possibility in long past ages. 
It is thus that nature works; forces of destruction every- 
where ; and then beauty more highly organised, more per- 
fect life. If a glance back into ages so far away seems 
too great a demand on the imagination, go only over 
into Italy, when some great volcano like Vesuvius bursts 
into a fiery torrent, fills the sky with pall of black 
smoke, throws up rocks into the air that sear the flowers 
and the grass on which they fall, pours out white-hot 



118 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

torrents of lava that wither into one black ruin the works 
of man and of nature alike; and then a little later see 
again, and the lava has cooled into virgin soil, vines are 
growing where that fiery torrent fell, the huts of the 
cottagers, rose-covered, are dotted over the heaps that 
once were seething torrents of fiery lava, and nature is 
again laughing into beauty where there was only horror, 
stifling atmosphere, uproar, human and animal destruc- 
tion everywhere. 

For so it is that nature works. She is always working 
to ideal ends, to beauty, to harmony, to order. You can- 
not keep her ugly, mar her as you may. Cover her 
slopes with the slag of iron furnaces and make great 
heaps of refuse over the place where once the hawthorn 
was in bloom — never mind, a little later nature will be 
at work again, and the slag heaps will be turned into 
green sloping fields, and the piles of refuse will be cov- 
ered with grass and flowers. She finds a ruin and she 
covers it till it is verdant with the leaf of the creeper. 
She takes a dung-heap and changes it into the playful 
tendrils of the vine. She is always bringing beauty out 
of ugliness, order out of disorder, harmony out of chaos. 
You think it but the blind working of unconscious forces, 
but does not so settled a plan, so definite a continued 
regeneration, speak rather of intelligences who are artists 
in their conceptions and who realise the laws of beauty, 
with ever-fecund imagination, producing the exquisite 
and the perfect? And so it is in the outer nature. 

But let us now rather turn towards Man, and see 
whether in the outer phenomena of human history we can 
trace anything like a plan which is working for the per- 
fect evolution of man. Now for this purpose you must 



THE GUARDIANS OF HUMANITY. 119 

read history over wide areas of time and vast extents 
of country. Let me lead you to one interesting succes- 
sion that you can trace through historic times, in which 
you will see West and East, East and West, invading 
and conquering each other, and the great sceptre of 
empire going as by the swing of a pendulum from one 
side to the other. You see as you look back into the 
dawn of history the mighty western empire, the Toltec, 
which existed where now the waves of the Atlantic roll, 
which stretched out one hand and laid it on Mexico, and 
the other hand and rested it upon Ancient Egypt, one 
of the very mightiest empires the world has ever known. 
Then as you come down in history, empire leaves the 
West, and empire after empire rises up in the East, and 
Asia is the seat of power, and the sceptre of supremacy is 
wielded by her hand. Follow the course of history, and 
again the sceptre of empire swings slowly over to the 
West. Greece rolls back Persia, and even passes east- 
wards and invades the northern parts of India. A little 
later, and Rome arises and Carthage rules, and the 
empire of the world again is centred in the West. Go 
on a little later, and again Asia takes up the imperial 
rohj her hosts sweep over Europe, destroy the last ruins 
of the Roman Empire, and spread westward as far as 
France, until they are hammered back by Charles Martel, 
and the great wave of conquest recoils again to Asia. 
But she has not yet finished. From Arabia the Moors 
spread along Africa, and conquer Southern Spain; from 
Syria and the northern parts of Asia Minor the Turkish 
hosts sweep over South-eastern Europe, until they are 
turned back by Hunyadi Janos, and they remain in the 
south-eastern corner of Europe under the crescent banner 



120 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

of the Arabian prophet. Then Europe arises once again, 
and after a while she begins the invasion once more of 
Asia. Asia had conquered Europe, Europe now begins 
to conquer Asia; first in the quiet guise of commerce, 
and then, later, by invading armies. And now in our 
own days once more in the far East Japan has thrown 
her sword into the scale of empire, and it is beginning 
to weigh down again, in Asia, and the end has not yet 
come. Is there nothing to learn from that strange swing- 
ing backwards and forwards, eastward and westward, no 
plan, no working for human evolution, no profit out of 
all these great invasions and tremendous outpourings 
of human blood? When we look at the results we see 
that every invasion has enriched the invaded people, 
every conquest has left the conquered with something 
that before they did not enjoy. When the Moors con- 
quered Spain they brought Science back with them, and 
Science continued to spread over the whole of Europe 
although the Moors were driven out of Spain. And so, 
when the Crusaders went into Asia, the Saracens taught 
those warriors the art of chivalr}% and the Crusaders, on 
the other hand, taught to the too haughty and indifferent 
East the immeasurable value of self-sacrifice. And every- 
where you see the same. East and West are different; 
and therefore it is necessary that they should come into 
contact, conquer each other, invade each other, and with 
each swing of the pendulum give something of East to 
West, or something of West to East, until both great 
tj^es are blended in the perfect man and the evolution 
of humanity, perfect in all its possibilities, shall be with 
us. Thus we read the changes in history and the con- 
tinual shifting destinies of human kind, the mighty power 



THE GUARDIANS OF HUMANITY. 121 

behind the outward phenomena, the successful conquests, 
the changing scale of empire, altering ever, changing 
ever, but all co-operating to the final goal of man. 

And if instead of those vast changes, instructive as 
they are, you try to look behind the veil of the history of 
one country, can you not see in national as well as in 
international history the working out of definite causes, 
turned deliberately to aims to be achieved? The various 
passions of men, their ambitions and their hatreds, their 
jealousies and their conquests, all are brought into the 
one great current which works for human good; a real 
alchemy, a mighty transmutation, in which all the baser 
metals are turned to gold, the pure gold of a perfect 
man. Let us look for a moment and see whether we can 
trace the action of any great Powers in the stories of 
individual nations, and whether they do not become a 
little more intelligible by thus looking behind the veil. 
Now it is a very old Christian belief, taken by Chris- 
tians originally from the Jews, that every nation has its 
own angel-king or angel -guardian. You find many a 
hint of it in the Hebrew and the Christian Bibles. 
Origen, of whom I spoke the other night, was so wise 
and so learned that the smaller men who followed did 
not understand him; he was too great an occultist to be 
readily understood by smaller minds, and he thus escaped 
canonisation at the hands of the Church. That great 
thinker, Origen, has a very interesting chapter on the 
part played by the angels of nations in the changing 
affairs of men, and he points out, what many of you may 
have noticed in the Hebrew Old Testament, that that 
which is often ascribed to the direct action of God, and 
50 becomes grotesque, is rational if it is looked at from 



122 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

the Standpoint of a great, though limited, superhuman 
Intelligence. And he alleges, though the allegation may 
seem a little startling nowadays to some of you, that the 
Hebrew Word which is translated '* the Lord " in the 
earlier Hebrew books is not the word which is translated 
** God," and that the word which is translated '' the 
Lord " should be translated " the Angel of Israel;" and 
he points to one verse in the Book of Judges, which has 
been a very useful weapon in the hands of those who have 
assailed Christianity, and it is a very peculiar verse : "The 
Lord was with Judah, and He drave out the inhabitants 
of the mountain, but could not drive out the inhabitants 
of the valley because they had chariots of iron." Now, 
it is a very peculiar thing, if you change the words " the 
Lord " into the word " God," that God was with Judah, 
and that He could manage the inhabitants of the moun- 
tain, but not those of the valley; but if you make it the 
" angel- guardian " you can realise quite well that that 
verse might be true without any stretch of probability; 
for such rulers are limited in power though greater than 
we are, and where they are pitted the one against the 
other, in attack or in defence of their own peoples, then 
comparatively small things may turn the scale. But to 
bring supreme power in on one side and then have it 
checkmated by chariots of iron is absurd, and you can- 
not wonder that many a freethinker has picked out that 
verse and held it up in mockery to show how childish 
were the ideas held by the ancient Jews. And so you 
may find other verses which, if you translate them accord- 
ing to the idea of Origen, become intelligible to those 
who know an)rthing about the working of unseen intelli- 
genc€6. But if you mak* a world in which on on» side 



THE GUARDIANS OF HUMANITY. 123 

there is a Supreme Being, and on the other human beings, 
and nothing between, you have an unintelligible cosmos, 
irrational and impossible to understand. And so in all 
the different religions of other nations you find the same 
idea about the angel-ruler, or guardian of the nation, 
taking part in the national affairs. If you go to Roman 
history you find Castor and Pollux in the ranks of the 
Romans. If you go to Grecian history, you find the 
Goddess Minerva or the God Hermes taking part in the 
battles of their people. If you go to the Norsemen you 
find Odin fighting with his favourite heroes. Go to India, 
and you find exactly similar legends there about the 
mingling of these invisible beings in the struggles and 
combats of their nations. And so in all the religions of 
the world you have testimony to the same thing. Look 
for a moment at the history of the Indian nation, and see 
how strangely you may trace in that the working of what 
seems a plan for the benefit of man. There was a time 
in India when you had a marvellous civilisation, when 
you had mighty kings, powerful rulers, when you may 
read how all the nations around, even from the far- 
western peoples, brought tributes to the mighty kings 
of that ancient land. You find her mighty in war as well 
as in the arts of peace. You find amongst her popula- 
tion the fighting class who ringed her around with a wall 
of steel, so that none might be able to invade ; and then, 
as you trace her history down, you find that some 5000 
years ago, as Indian story tells, there was a great mani- 
festation of divine power; how one set of Indian people 
was put against another in sharp antagonism by the 
direct action of these great beings; how they fought the 
one against the other, slaying and being slain, until the 



124 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

Indian sword was broken and her warriors were too few 
to guard her great frontiers. From that time onwards, 
from that great battle raging for 18 days till the oppos- 
ing armies were well-nigh exterminated, you can trace 
her history downwards by invasion after invasion. Her 
walls were broken, her rich lands lay open, her people 
could no longer defend themselves, and invader after 
invader swept over that once mighty land. The Mussul- 
mans came, army after army, and for a thousand years 
they fought and conquered and ruled. Then 
one European nation after another began to 
make inroads along her borders, leased pieces 
of land, built warehouses here and there; 
Dutch, Portuguese, French, all tried their hands on In- 
dia, until at last the English merchants came. You may 
trace their history; how they begged and borrowed and 
stole, increasing continually their possessions; how they 
made treaties and broke them; how they took lands to 
guard and kept them, and so gradually partly by force, 
partly by fraud, partly by the treachery of Indian against 
Indian, they built up that mighty dependency of England 
in Asia that you know as the Indian Empire. 

Now what is there in that strange succession of events 
which seems to some of us significant as to the part 
which India has played and has to play in the world? 
The English people found, when they got the upper hand 
and began to settle and to study the people among whom 
they came, a mighty literature; they found a marvellous 
philosophy; they found drama that was old when their 
own nation was still in a state of savagery ; they found a 
philosophy so wonderful that modern Europe has gone 
into ecstacies over it, and declares it sublimer and loftier 



THE GUARDIANS OF HUMANITY. 125 

and grander than anything else the world has known; a 
philosophy that was the parent of Greek thought, that 
was brought from India into Greece, a philosophy that 
within the limits of this nation for many an age was 
closed in and kept, a priceless heritage, a wondrous trea- 
sure, not meant for India alone, but for the helping of 
the world. But it could not have become a world-pos- 
session if she were to have been able to guard herself 
always and shut herself in against the countries around 
her. Her warriors were exterminated that she might 
be conquered and that many nations might find their 
homes within her borders; and when the English came, 
the English who are building up the mightiest of all the 
Empires of the world, the English whose language is 
becoming the world-language, and is girdling the whole 
globe with one intelligible tongue, they came and con- 
quered and held where all other Europeans had failed; 
and Indian Scriptures, Indian philosophy, Indian drama, 
translated into the universal English tongue, are now 
vitalising the religion of the conquerors, fertilising their 
fields of thought. No other race could have done it; 
no other language would have worked in the same way; 
no other nation could have wrought the same effect. And 
now those gems of Indian literature are becoming fami- 
liar all the world over, familiar as the writings of our 
own poets, familiar as the teachings of our own philo- 
sophers. And sometimes a nation is set apart like that, 
kept for a while encircled with a wall that cannot be 
over-climbed until she has grown great and strong . and 
full of loftiest thought; and then her border is broken 
down, her land taken, and her people subjugated, in 
order that the treasures there accumulated may become 



126 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

the world's wealth and possession, common instead of 
national property, taking their part in the helping of the 
world. 

There is another nation nearer home to you — the Irish 
people. There is another people whose destiny is 
strange, and at first it might seem almost unintelligible, 
just as it might have seemed strange and unintelligible 
that the great Eastern civilisation should have sunk 
down and become subjected. For the Irish people are 
a strange and peculiar people, a very different type of 
temperament from the conquering English race, who are 
Teutons for the most part. Teutonic in brain are the 
English; scientific, skilful in all application, clear in 
their thought, and practical in their application. The 
Irishman is not so; he is poetic, excitable, utterly dif- 
ferent in temperament and type from the Englishman, 
the Keltic brain being opposed in character to the Teu- 
tonic. Ireland has had a fate something like that of 
India; conquered and held in subjection. Most of you 
probably know the sad story of Ireland's past. You 
know the way in which her manufactures were crushed 
out, in order that the manufactures of England might 
hold the markets of the world, just as Indian manufac- 
tures have been destroyed in order that Lancashire and 
Manchester might flourish. You know how the unfair 
restrictions on Ireland's exports made her manufactures 
impossible, so that they utterly perished. You know how 
her population diminished because the land could not 
support the population that land and manufactures to- 
gether had kept in prosperity. You know how bitter 
penal laws crushed the life out of the great majority 
of the Roman Catholic people of the country, and how 



THE GUARDIANS OF HUMANITY. 127 

the Protestant supremacy forced upon them conditions 
which made life impossible, impoverishing the masses 
of the people; you know the hatred that grew up out 
of it, the hatred that still is struggling against the Eng- 
lish yoke, and the memory of wrong, not forgotten by 
those who suffered, which makes the gulf of hatred still 
between the two Islands which make up the empire at 
home. And you know how in our own time efforts have 
been made; you saw how Parnell rose, the strange rise 
of a strong, powerful man; you know how he was not 
strong enough to do his work to keep his people from 
crime, and how he was broken and fell. But still that 
same country is kept separate; still walled round, as 
it were, apart from the empire, and a menace to it. Do 
you never ask why? Have you never tried to understand 
the purpose? Does it never strike you that perchance 
in that Keltic people there are possibilities of spiritual 
life which may come back in richest blessings to Eng- 
land, to Europe, as gradually her people rise out of 
the dreamy legendary fancies of the past, and take up 
the spiritual heritage which is within their reach, which 
is born, as it were, in their blood? For what India is 
to Asia, Ireland is to Europe ; mystical, with the religious 
instinct woven into the hearts of her people; Ireland is 
the religious teacher of the future in Europe, as India 
is and has been the religious teacher of the world; alike 
in their isolation, alike in their subjugation, alike in the 
power of their spiritual thought, Ireland is a western 
India, India an eastern Ireland. And from those two 
poles, both within the British Empire, shall spread from 
east to west, and from west to east, the fertilising flood 
of religion which shall gradually raise the whole of the 



128 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

empire to a loftier spiritual level. Now look again for 
a moment at that Indian people, and see how evil things 
work for good. You read now of much unrest in India ; 
you read of a national movement and all the rest of it ; 
probably you have not troubled yourselves to trace the 
way in which that movement has gradually arisen. India 
was asleep, almost dead, as far as any love of country 
in her people, any sense of nationality, was to be found. 
Her spiritual life was gradually vanishing, her peculiar 
type was being gradually taken away from the treasures 
that have to enrich humanity. You sent her a Ruler, 
powerful and strong ; but a ruler without sense of eastern 
feeling, without knowledge, the real knowledge, that 
comes from sympathy with eastern ways; before he 
came, some of her own people had been preaching to her 
of possible greatness. You had fed them on English 
literature; you had taught them of the English consti- 
tutional struggles for freedom; you had preached in 
your schools and colleges the grandeur of English liberty 
and the greatness of the English people ; and the Indians 
are of the same race as you are, an older family of the 
same great Aryan race. They naturally assimilated your 
ideals and the story of your struggles, and some at least 
were fired with the longing for constitutional liberty. 
But the mass of the people cared nothing for these 
things; the great mass of the people were utterly indif- 
ferent, and the voices of those who spoke were voices 
crying in the wilderness. Then came your strong ruler, 
the Viceroy before the present one, with his Universities* 
Commission and his Education Act, under the plea of 
raising Indian education ; he made it so costly that it was 
utterly beyond the reach of the class which has not only 



THE GUARDIANS OF HUMANITY. 129 

learning as its birthright, but has poverty as well. For 
in India the learned are poor and the learned class is a 
poor class ; and by making education expensive he left it 
open to the rich and ignorant, but shut out the learned 
and the poor. As soon as the Universities Act was made 
the law of the land, India began to stir from her slumber 
of ages, for she cared much for learning though she had 
lost the care for rule. She desired to know; this was 
instinctive in her, for thousands of years she had 
sought knowledge, and so the people unmoved before 
began to move, and they began to say : " We must educate 
ourselves; and if education is to be made costly so that 
we cannot have it, by our rulers, then we will have our 
own national education, and train our own sons and edu- 
cate our own people, and we will not be dependent on 
these English Universities, but we will guide our own 
education and take it into our own hands." And that 
was the first thrill of national life that passed through 
India, that determination to have education for herself. 
And there was another great movement in India; I my- 
self have been preaching it for the last 14 years there; 
an economic movement, trying to persuade Indians to 
make their own goods and wear their own productions, 
telling them it was not worth while to grow cotton and 
send it to Lancashire to be woven into cloth and then 
sent back and sold in India, thus destroying the old 
weaving, industry indigenous to that great continent 
advising them to follow their own arts rather than the 
arts of the west, to produce their own exquisite manu- 
factures instead of bad copies of Western goods; but 
nobody listened very much and nobody cared. They 
saw their weaving industry was perishing, they saw the 

J 



130 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

weavers leaving the looms by which they could no longer 
live and crowding the already overcrowded agricultural 
population, and so making famine more inevitable than 
before. But they were asleep, they would not move. 
Then followed that great blessing in disguise to India, 
which caused her to make a political move. You have 
heard of the partition of Bengal; it was that which 
aroused one part of the Indian people into fury, and they 
took up the economic movement as a weapon of political 
warfare, and the result has been that it has spread from 
one part of the country to the other, and India is now 
returning to its proper economic position; hence the 
manufactures of India are improving, and the powers 
of the Indians are being turned again to art and crafts 
and manufactures, and they are beginning to lay the 
foundation of wealth and prosperity for their own coun- 
try. That which was supposed to take away from them 
even the liberty they had has been turned into a great 
enfranchising movement, and so is building up the India 
of the future to be a nation in the great Federation of 
free nations into which the British Empire shall evolve. 
And in that way what seemed most evil has turned to 
most good, for the unrest is passing, but the great wave 
of national life, that will endure. Out of that there 
shall come new knowledge and new power to this great 
federation of free peoples, and the India that otherwise 
might have remained asleep has been aroused by scourge 
because she would not be aroused by precept ; her invis- 
ible Ruler has forced her into activity, since she was too 
fast asleep to be moved by words alone. 

Look at Russia. There is a country that has a future 
before it, but through what a hell of suffering is she 



THE GUARDIANS OF HUMANITY. 131 

being guided to her future greatness. A wonderful 
people is that Russian people. I do not know how far 
you may have cared to interest yourselves in that great 
movement made now many, many years ago, a movement 
without parallel, I think, in the histories of nations, 
where the young of the Russian nobility, sons and daugh- 
ters of the noble houses of Russia, fired with the love of 
humanity, compassionate, with a desire to help the miser- 
able, starving people, toilers, peasants, manufacturing 
slaves in most miserable and wretched conditions, left 
their homes, left their luxury, left their idle lives. Boys 
and girls of 16, 17, and 18 years of age, leaving their 
homes behind them, went out into the fields and fac- 
tories, worked side by side with peasants in the fields, 
side by side with weavers and toilers in filthy factories, 
lived with them, worked with them, starved with them — 
and taught them. That was the first great movement; 
that was the first effort of this dawning Russian nation, 
a splendid example of self-sacrifice, the effort of the 
rich for the poor. On that came down the heavy hand 
of government and the crushing weight of tyrannic laws ; 
those young ones who only meant to help found them- 
selves seized and flung into prison untried. They found 
themselves sent to Siberia on charges of political agita- 
tion into which they had not entered; they found them- 
selves plunged into the dungeon and exiled to the mines; 
they perished by scores, by hundreds, and by thousands; 
and it was out of the bitterness and anger which grew 
out of a ruthless persecution, that what is known as the 
Red Terror of Russia awakened; it was a movement of 
despair against intolerable oppression. But the yoke of 
government pressed heavily; the first effort had failed; 



132 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

what was to be done? The nation was guided into a 
hopeless and desperate war; she sent out her children 
by the thousand across Asia to grapple with the far 
Eastern foe on her extreme borders. It was said that 
they ** fought like lions, but were led by asses." They 
failed; they were beaten, crushed by their more capable 
enemy. But in that war much of the strength of the 
government was broken and a new movement for freedom 
became possible in Russia. And still she is writhing in 
the anguish of the birth of a new nation, still she is in 
misery and well nigh in despair, while the breath of free- 
dom is blowing over her people; but out of that defeat 
and that misery, out of that revolution and that struggle 
a new Russia will be born, a Russia fit to take her place 
in civilisation. And out of her magnificent materials 
shall be builded a nation that shall be mystical in its 
tendency, idealistic in its aims, as well as mighty in its 
force. It is when you study history in this way and see 
how mighty a Power guides a nation through misery to 
happiness, that you begin to understand what is meant 
by the phrase " the Guardians of Humanity." See how, 
when a nation is to be used to help forward the race, 
how many able ones are born among her rulers ; and when 
a nation has to learn her lessons in anguish, see how 
amid her leaders you find none who are fit to lead. You 
say it is all chance, that it all happens by accident, that 
there is no plan, no guiding, no arrangements, that all 
the results work out without any intelligence to plan, 
without any guidance to shape means to ends? If that 
be so in the world, then one might also imagine that any 
great work of human skill were likewise produced by 
blind unconscious laws. We know that human intelli- 



THE GUARDIANS OF HUMANITY. 133 

gence can plan and direct. Wherever we see a plan we 
take for granted that intelligence is behind it. And if 
in the study of history we can see this plan among the 
nations, this shifting of empire, the guidance of peoples 
to greatness, the casting down of some and the lifting 
up of others, the leading of the nations through misery 
to freedom and through struggle to peace, is it so strange 
to look behind the outer phenomena and to seek for the 
Intelligences that guide? And so we see in all these 
strifes and upheavals among the nations the workings 
of the world-process, whereby a perfect humanity shall 
develop; in all the struggles a foreseen end; in all the 
sufferings a lesson to be learned and an achievement to 
be made. 

And looking thus at history it becomes intelligible; 
thus studying it we can see as it were the outline of the 
plan shining through the mass of the details, and we 
begin to realise that men may co-operate therein, may 
learn the laws, and then be able to utilise them, and that 
just as in your smaller contacts with nature you study 
her in order to find out the underlying principles which 
guide, and, knowing them, use them to bring about that 
which you desire, so in the larger history of mankind and 
in the story of the nations you may find by study the 
principles upon which they are being builded, and learn 
that the old prophet did not speak wrongly when he 
declared that righteousness exalteth a nation, and that 
those who follow righteousness shall win peace and pros- 
perity. 

And those other Great Ones that I spoke of under the 
general name of Masters — They have to do with the reli- 
gious evolution of man, his spiritual unfolding, even as 



l34 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES ^908. 

the angel-rulers I have spoken of have to do with the 
outer destinies of nations. We mean by the word 
" Master " one who founds a great religion, gives a new 
form to the everlasting verities, clothes them in a shape 
congenial to the time and to the customs and tempera- 
ment of the people, gives the particular garb which will 
suit them and help them along the path of their evolu- 
tion. Again glance over history, and you will find one 
law continually showing itself out; whenever there is to 
be a new step forward in the evolution of mankind, 
whenever a new civilisation is to be born, a new policy 
to be shaped, then a fresh spiritual impulse comes to the 
world, and some great religious teacher appears in tlie 
world to give a new form to religion, a form which shall 
dominate the coming civilisation. Over and over again 
in the past you find it; Egypt built its polity on a reli- 
gious foundation, and its Pharoah was the highest priest 
as well as the ruler of the State ; the whole of the Indian 
polity is based on a religious foundation ; Syria the same, 
as also Persia. Before the Christ was born, the great 
outline of Grecian philosophy had been brought from 
India and Egypt ; Rome had been built on her own great 
faith; and the Christ was born before the new Western 
Civilisation, the Teutonic, began. Christianity is but the 
last but one of the great religions of the world, born to 
build a new civilisation, or, if you prefer it, to be the 
Mother on whose bosom that infant civilisation should 
be nursed. Look through Europe and see how it has 
dominated all the thought of Europe ; her greatest litera- 
ture has grown from the religious stem; her most splen- 
did art has been inspired by her faith; her marvellous 
architecture is the outcome of her religion. Religious 



THE GUARDIANS OF HUMANITY. 135 

thought has embodied itself in her literature, her art, and 
her architecture. But that is nothing new, it has always 
been so. Thus whenever you get the first striking of the 
note of religion by a Master, then follows the birth of a 
new civilisation dominated by the form He gave; and 
over the world to-day you are seeing the spread of a new 
spiritual wave, a new impulse of the ancient life; not 
only in that movement that we call the Theosophical 
Society, which is a sm.all thing, but in that vast movement 
all the world over which is asserting itself in a dozen 
different forms, but of which the inner thought is iden- 
tical throughout. It is the reaction against materialism; 
it is the re-assertion of the ideal as mightier than the 
material, of life as the master of matter. • You see it 
in the changing attitude of science of which I spoke, 
voiced by Sir William Crookes; you see it in the new 
impulse in art, which is turning from mere imitative 
production and again is striving after the ideal; you 
see it in literature, where idealism is also beginning 
to triumph; you see it even in the ordinary publications 
of the day, where the unseen and the invisible are be- 
ginning to play their part again, no longer ridiculed, 
but looked at with interest; you see it in the wave of 
psychic evolution which is showing itself in the most 
civilised nations; you see it in the growing vitality in 
the Christian Church, and in the new power of the 
mystic life which is beginning to again exercise its 
sway over men; you see it now approaching a more 
concrete form, in the Theosophical Society; but the 
new thought, the new feeling, the forms of fresh think- 
ing that you see around you — they are all alike in 
principle, although differing in their wording and 



136 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

their outward shape. But this mighty movement is 
not going to make a new religion; it proclaims the unity 
of all religions, and the one spirit dominating the variety 
of forms; it does not seek to bring people into one 
Church or another; it does not look for converts from 
one faith to another ; it says that all faiths are one in their 
essence, that all faiths are searchings after God, though 
in many ways and along many roads; it has as one of 
its mottoes those words which have been spoken under 
different forms by the great world Teachers: "Man- 
kind comes to me along many roads, and on whatever 
road a man approaches me, on that road do I welcome 
him, for all roads are mine." That is the Voice of 
the Spirit sounding above the jar of contending faiths; 
that is the declaration of the inner unity despite the 
variety of outside ceremony and dogma; it is the de- 
claration once more that as one Sun enlightens all the 
earth, so one Spirit and one Truth shine out in every 
nation for the illumination of human hearts and lives; 
it is the declaration of the brotherhood instead of the 
rivalry of religions; the proclamation of many mighty 
Masters who are all one Brotherhood, and who teach a 
common verity, a common reality, a common truth. 
And just as the one sunlight is broken up by the prism 
into the seven colours of the spectrum, so is the one 
white light of truth broken up by the prism of the 
human mind into the many colours of the 
various religions of the world; and as by 
putting another prism in the path of the col- 
oured rays it re-combines them all into one, so, by 
placing the spiritual view of truth in the path that the 
differently coloured rays of the many religions make, 



THE GUARDIANS OF HUMANITY. 137 

you re-combine them all into one, and the white light 
of truth shines out once more. Religions have each 
their own characteristic, each their own special beauty-^ 
each teaching some great truth to the world; but all 
truths are fundamentally one, as all forces may be 
combined into one universal f'^rce. And so in the move- 
ment of to-day, instigated as ever by the Masters of 
the world religions, in that movement towards unity, 
that movement towards idealism, that movement that 
proclaims the spiritual nature of man — in that we may 
see the guiding hand of these human yet divine Guar- 
dians of Humanity, who are gathering together all na- 
tions and all religions into one mighty Brotherhood, 
in order that a civilisation of peace, a civilisation of love, 
a civilisation of international brotherhood, may bind 
together all the nations of the world in the one bond of 
humanity, and there can be no strangers, no outcasts, no 
foreigners among people who know himianity as one, 
and the nations as the organs of a single Body. 



Nature's Finer Forces 

Those of you who have kept at all abreast of the 
advances of modern science can hardly have avoided being 
struck by the very great change that has come over the 
attitude of Science during the last twenty years. In the 
days when many of you, and I, were young, Science was 
dealing with matter, with forms, with all these outer phe- 
nomena of nature that can be seen, can be heard, can be 
touched ; and out of the study of these phenomena Science 
was led to believe in the existence of certain things that 
could not be seen, nor heard, nor touched. To all these 
invisible, inaudible, intangible things which caused move- 
ments in matter that were not otherwise intelligible, the 
name of force was given. Matter, it was said, was inert, 
could not move itself, could not stop itself if set going 
by something from outside. And it was pointed out in 
dealing with this inertia of matter that when it was 
made to move by what was called a force, and force was 
defined as that which causes movement in matter, it never 
stopped moving of its own accord, but only by something 
else that interfered, such as friction. As you know, in 
ordinary machinery, in the very common instance of the 
bicycle wheel, you judge the worth of the bearings of 

(138) 



nature's finer forces. 139 

ciiat bicycle wheel by the time that it will go on turning 
after a certain force has set it going. If it stops quickly 
you say the bearings are not good, too much friction ; so 
thoroughly is it recognised that matter does not stop 
moving of itself, but is made to stop by something else, 
whether it be friction or any other cause. Out of this 
idea of the inertia of matter necessarily grows the co-rela- 
tive idea of force, as that which causes motion or checks 
motion, and so Science built up a universe of the two, 
force and matter. These, of course, were abstractions 
taken in the singular, and we then have to deal with 
forces in the plural, the various kinds of things that 
cause motion in matter. There was, theoretically, one 
force which might take many shapes, as there was one 
matter which could assume many forms, and those are 
two of the fundamental conceptions of modern Science. 
In the days of which I speak, twenty, thirty years ago, 
nothing else was thought by many scientific men 
to be necessary in order to explain the happenings, 
the phenomena, of the universe. Matter and force, it was 
said, were enough for everything. The elder of you 
will remember the famous book, sometimes called 
the Bible of Materialism, by the great German 
Scientist, Biichner. In that book, under the title 
of Force and Matter, the writer dealt with the 
various phenomena of the world, how the changes took 
place, and how these, too, were to be considered. I need 
not remind you, save just in passing, of the definition 
that was then common for an atom. It was a particle 
of matter, and according to the author I have just men- 
tioned and his view, which would have been endorsed by 
other scientists of his own time, the atom was infran- 



140 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

gible. When you got down to the atom, you would come 
to the ultimate, to that which " cannot be cut." That 
was the notion that Science had at that time, the same 
idea that had been held for thousands of years, from 
the times of the great Greek scientists, and long before 
that. But in addition to that, it was laid down that this 
particle of matter which could not be further divided 
was also unchangeable in its properties. I remember 
well — for I translated Biichner's book into English — his 
positive statement that an atom of carbon to all eternity 
is an atom of carbon, that it has never been anything 
else, and so on — one phrase after another — showing you 
how deeply rooted in the minds of the scientists of that 
time was the conception of an unchangeable atom, which 
possessed definite attributes, uncreated, indestructible, and 
fhat these atoms, with the co-relative force which gives 
motion, were the two things out of which the universe 
was built up. Science does not now take that position. 
One of our leading scientists, Sir Oliver Lodge, wrote a 
very admirable book, well worthy of study, in which he 
says there is another factor in the universe — life; that 
you cannot identify life with force, as many of the older 
scientists did, regarding life as only the outcome of a 
particular arrangement of matter and inseparable from 
it, disappearing with a change in the arrangement, 
appearing with an arrangement capable of showing out 
that force. It would be worth the while of the more 
thoughtful thinkers among you to read his argument, 
for it is admirably put. He shows in that book that while 
matter and force make up the universe exterior to con- 
sciousness, you cannot regard consciousness as a kind of 
force, you cannot make life identical with a certain kind 



NATURE^S FINER FORCES. 141 

of force. Without going into all his arguments, I may 
put to you the one great fact generally, that force has no 
direction which is not imposed upon it — bursts out in all 
directions. It is only when mind comes in and makes a 
certain apparatus or mechanism that the force is directed 
in a particular way, as in a pistol or gun your gun- 
powder explodes, but in order that it may do so effec- 
tively, mind has had to contrive the tube of the pistol or 
the grooving of the gun. In this way force is utilised 
as well as matter by the overruling power of conscious- 
ness, of mind, and by very many arguments he buttresses 
up this statement — a fundamental statement — the one 
which sees nature not as a duality of force and matter, 
but as a trinity of matter, force, and mind. It is well 
to realise that very much of what I have to say to you 
has a bearing on this view. 

But let me remind you, before I take that up, of 
another change that has come over Science; it used to 
argue to the existence of force, though invisible, because 
matter cannot move without it. It is now arguing for 
the existence of matter as a medium for force. That 
is, the whole thing is turned upside down. Instead of 
arguing that there must be an invisible, indestructible 
force, because matter moves, which otherwise would be 
moveless. Science now is arguing that we must have 
matter, for we know of forces and they are moving in 
something. So that you now deduce matter from force 
instead of force from matter — a very remarkable change, 
showing you the line upon which Science is travelling. 

How has that change come about? Because science 
has been advancing, step by step, from the coarse to the 
subtle, from the gross to the fine. First, examination 



142 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

was through the avenues of the senses — the eye, the ear, 
the tactile power. But in their investigations scientists 
found out that many things were existing which these 
senses were unable to cognise — tilings too small for the 
eye to see, things too far away for the eye to examine — 
and as they studied more and more closely they found 
that the human senses are things very limited in range, 
and that there are a vast number of vibrations that do 
not affect our senses at all, that to us had not existed 
because we are unable to answer them. Consequently, 
to try to improve the eye and make it more effective than 
otherwise it would be, to make the eye bee what by itself 
it could not see, they invented the microscope, and raised 
it to power after power, until the very very minute 
becomes visible by the process of continually magnifying 
it, and thus raising it to a size which the human eye is 
able to perceive. So with regard to the infinitely great, 
as it is often called, the mighty Universe around us; as 
the eye could not see far enough, they made the telescope 
to assist it in plunging into the depths of space. The 
inventions of the microscope and the telescope are but an 
illustration of the method of science, climbing up step 
by step from the coarse to the fine. They made balances 
so delicate that an infinitesimal fraction of a grain would 
make a scale depressed, so delicate that they could 
measure weight to an almost inconceivable minuteness. 
As science went on conquering the worlds of nature, the 
worlds of matter and of force, it was by her apparatus 
that she made her conquests, and the invention of scien- 
tists was taxed to the utmost to make a better apparatus, 
a more delicate piece of mechanism, some way of putting 
matter together in order that the mysteries of matter 



nature's finer forces. 143 

might be further investigated by man. But now she is 
coming to a very difficult place. She has gone beyond 
the region for her finest instruments. Her most exquisite 
apparatus no longer helps her in the realms into which 
she is penetrating. She wants to understand ether, and 
ether is imponderable by the finest of her balances. She 
has passed into a realm where the intangible, the invis- 
ible, the inaudible, are crowding around her on every 
side, and she dimly senses their presence, but is unable 
to perceive. What is she to do? Problem after problem 
remains unanswered because the means of investigation 
are no longer ready to her hand. She knows that there 
are things outside her ken. She has found it to be so 
even by making improvements in her machinery, and at 
last, almost in despair, she has had to turn to the one 
deductive science, mathematics, and she prays the mathe- 
matician to discover for her what the senses, however 
aided, are not able to observe. It is remarkable that 
mathematics is the one science in the modern world 
that works from generals to particulars by deduction, and 
is the only one which is absolutely sure. All others work 
by what is called induction, from particulars to generals. 
Induction is very sure if you have got hold of all the 
particulars, but the weakness of that method is that if 
you fail to observe any one particular, and leave it out, 
the whole of your investigation fails. That has been 
happening over and over again lately with modern 
Science. She has been discovering that in her inductions 
she has left things out which she had not observed, and 
has thus vitiated her conclusions. The conclusions have 
failed. Arguments which seemed unanswerable, conclu- 
sions that seemed irrevocable, have been knocked into 



144 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

pieces by discovering that something was left out, so that 
the induction failed, and Science is face to face now with 
all the difficulties she thought she had answered. 

You know that there are many people who have a 
greater extent of sense perception as regards the ear, the 
eye, the sense of touch, than others. Some people can 
see more than others with regard to delicate shades of 
colour. If I took you over to Persia or to Kashmir, I 
could bring before you carpet makers who would see a 
dozen shades of colour where you and I see only one. 
Their eyes have been trained to see delicate shades which 
the ordinary eye looks at unperceiving, and the extra- 
ordinary richness of the Persian carpet, the one in which 
one shade melts into another, the delicacy of the Kashmir 
weaving, turn on this extraordinary delicacy of the Per- 
sian and Kashmirian eye. They see where we are blind, 
they see variety of colours where we see uniformity. 

It is the same with the ear. Of Oriental music most 
Europeans say it is flat, but what is called flatness by the 
Western ear is due to gradations of sounds too fine for 
the ordinary Western ear to hear, and yields tones which 
are most exquisite to the trained sense. The Indian can 
discover delicate gradations of sounds produced by his 
instruments that are not perceptible to the ordinary 
European ear, trained to a different scale and to differ- 
ent kinds of sounds. But that is not the only thing that 
shows us that our powers as regards the senses differ 
very much one from the other. Any few of you, picked 
out at random, can hear notes of music, sounded out to 
you from what is called the siren, an apparatus which 
yields notes higher and higher, by vibrations of air, 
shorter and more rapid as it turns. At a certain point 



NATORE^S FINER FORCES. 145 

most would say that there was silence. You see the in- 
strument whirling round, and say : *' It is moving still, 
but there is no sound." There is really a higher sound, 
and one man perhaps will say: *' I still hear it; it is 
very shrill." It gives a still higher note, and that man 
becomes deaf to the sound, and will only see the move- 
ment. Another, perhaps, will say : *' I can still hear it." 
There is a very fine sound, until at last the notes grow 
§0 fine that no ordinary human ear can hear them at all ; 
yet they are shrilling through the atmosphere ; the vibra- 
tions are dashing up against your ear. You have reached 
the limit of your power of hearing. It is the same with 
colour. You can see only the seven colours of the spec- 
trum, and all the varieties of colour coming between the 
violet and the red. But there are vibrations below the 
red. Science has found them out, and by changing their 
rate of vibration has brought them within the limit of 
radiance. There are vibrations beyond the violet. Pho- 
tographs are chiefly made by what are called the actinic 
rays, which no human eyes can perceive unaided, but 
there are certain chemicals which can be put on a sheet 
so that beyond the violet or purple, you can see the faint 
purplish hue which tells you of vibrations too delicate 
for your eye to catch unaided. All these things go to 
show that you are in a universe of endless possibilities, 
and you can only know that to which you are able to 
answer. You know in the Universe of matter that which 
you can reproduce, and nothing more. All around you 
finer and more subtle vibrations are playing upon you. 
You are absolutely insensitive to them. You have 
developed no organ which is able to answer them, and 
hence for you they do not exist. These vibrations have 



146 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

colour beyond the spectrum scale of colour. They are 
there, but you cannot see them. The vibrations of sound 
are beyond the octaves of sound. They are there, but 
you cannot hear them. And so Huxley said truly that 
if our ears were finer we could hear the sap moving in 
the trees, and the growing of the grass by the side of 
the road. There are sounds everywhere, inaudible; 
sights everywhere, invisible; vibrations everywhere, in- 
tangible; and a marvellous universe, which would be- 
come more marvellous, if only our senses were finer to 
answer to it, if only we could develop powers that as 
yet humanity has not normally evolved. Sir William 
Crookes has helped us here, and has pointed out, making 
a table of vibrations, all the vibrations that he regards 
as present in the Universe of matter; in that table he 
has mark?d out what we know of the groups of vibra- 
tions: that there are electrical vibrations, sound vibra- 
tions, a gap, vibrations of light, another gap, and so on, 
showing how much we know not, how little compara- 
tively we know. Then he went on to say (and we must 
remember that Crookes is a Theosophist, who studies from 
the standpoint of the finer universe) that possibly these 
finest vibrations in the ether might be the vibrations 
by which thought is transferred from brain to brain 
without the medium of coarser matter, beyond the ordin- 
ary methods of communication, and he suggested whether 
it is not possible that some organ will evolve — rudimen- 
tary at present in most, but comparatively active in some 
— whereby the subtle vibrations of ether-transmitted 
thought may pass from one to another without the grosser 
matter. Elsewhere he pictured the universe as it would 
be if your eyes and mine answered to electrical waves 



NATURE^S FINER FORCES. 147 

instead of to waves of light. Everything would change. 
Standing here, if my eyes answered to electricity instead 
of to light, I could not see you, but when I looked 
through the wall I should be able to see right into the 
street; for the electrical currents could pass through the 
walls, and if my eyes answered to them the wall would 
be to me transparent as glass, but dry air is a non-con- 
ductor of electricity, and if the air between you and me 
is dry enough, we should be invisible to each other if we 
saw by electrical waves instead of by light waves. He 
pointed out that if we looked along a silver wire in dry 
air, we should see a tunnel through the darkness, the air 
opaque, the wire transparent. He told us a number of 
other things of that sort, which would make the world 
quite different from the present. 

It is at the point of the discovery of those finer worlds 
that Eastern Science, older by thousands of years than 
her Western sister, can give suggestions which perhaps 
the Westerner may not be too proud presently to utilise, 
for the Eastern Scientist has gone on quite different lines. 
What is his view of man? for it all turns upon that. 
He regards man as a spiritual intelligence, and he re- 
gards matter and force as of one nature, into which that 
spiritual intelligence comes, in order to study and know 
it. He does not confuse matter and spirit. Man is the 
living spirit, and his three great attributes are will, 
activity, and the power to know. And these three 
attributes of the spiritual intelligence are used in relation 
to matter and force, which are essentially one. 
Then our Eastern Scientist says that this spiritual intelli- 
gence takes on matter, and makes out of it what we call 
bodies, in order that he may come into touch with the 



148 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

various worlds of the material universe. As he puts on 
a certain kind of matter, he can learn about and investi- 
gate all things which are made up out of that kind of 
matter. It is the same idea, if you notice, that Science 
has, that you can only know a thing when you can answer 
it in yourself. But the Eastern thinker says that you 
have appropriated the matter, and have built it into 
suitable forms. The ordinary scientist will acknowledge 
that of the physical body, putting it in a different way. 
But the Eastern sage goes much further. He says: 
"You have appropriated every kind of matter in 
the universe, not only that of the physical universe 
around you; and as you have a physical body by which 
you can know a physical universe, so you have bodies 
of finer matter by which you may know finer 
worlds; you are normally in touch with three different 
worlds: the matter of your physical body brings you 
into touch with the physical world, and the matter of 
what we call the astral body, or part of the subtler body, 
brings you into touch with the desire world, and still 
finer matter, mental matter, brings you into touch with 
the world of mind. 

And then he goes a step further. He says that as 
you have evolved your physical body, and by that evolved 
body contact the physical world, so you are evolving 
further finer bodies, and as you evolve them, you will 
contact the finer worlds; as you evolve them you will 
answer to the finer forces, and slowly and gradually you 
will, in process of evolution, be able to know worlds of 
finer matter and finer forces, in exactly the same way that 
you now know the world of gross matter and gross 
forces, that you call the physical universe. That is his 



NATURE"'S FINER FORGES. 149 

view of bodies and worlds. With that theory, what 
would naturally be his practice? Where the Western 
scientist has made apparatus outside him, the Eastern 
scientist constructs apparatus inside him. That is the 
difference. Instead of making microscope and telescope 
and balances, he works to develop finer bodies, and so 
obtains a means of contact with the finer worlds. He 
declares that this is possible, and he tells you how to do 
it, and he bids you make your own experiments and try 
it for yourself. He points out to you, as I shall be 
pointing out to you when I deal with that question, 
that thought has created the physical organs in which it 
works, and that similarly it can create finer organs for 
finer purposes, subtler instruments for the measurmg of 
subtler forces. Now I do not ask you to accept that 
as true, for the moment, but I do ask you is it so 
irrational, or is it not in consonance with what you 
already know of nature and of evolution? 

Your physical eye has grown up to be what it is by 
a long process of evolution, going on for thousands, 
millions, of years. Your eye began in a little tiny speck 
of colour in the body of a jellyfish, which only knew a 
little change of light and darkness, distinguished dimly 
between the light and the dark. Imagine the feelings 
of other jellyfish, if they were able to reason as you can 
reason, if some adventurous jellyfish had pushed on the 
development of that little speck, and came back pre- 
sently to his fellow jellyfish, and said : ''It is quite 
possible to see a great many things that you can't see. 
I can see all sorts of things running about. I can see 
all sorts of creatures running around us, and can run 
away if they want to eat me." They would all say: 



150 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

" What nonsense this audacious jellyfish is talking. How 
can he see when we can't see? How can he know when 
\^e, the wise and orthodox jellyfish, know nothing? What 
is all this nonsense he is talking about forms and things 
of this sort? How can we possibly escape when the 
moment comes for us to die? How can we see when 
anything is coming, and run away? If he is not a 
lunatic, he is a fraud, and is trying to get the better 
of us," and so on. These obstinate jellyfish go on in 
their own way until nature forces them to evolve. It is 
very much the same with all of you with your present 
powers. You can go on if you like, and slowly, slowly, 
nature will carry you onwards, until your psychical body 
has organs as your physical body has organs, and reveals 
to you a new world of wonderful phenomena that you can 
study as you study the phenomena of the physical world. 
But suppose you say: ** I will learn by the experience of 
the past. I see that all these senses have been gradually 
evolved. I see that the eye has grown through all 
these stages in an immense evolution. I also notice that 
when we understand the laws of nature, and begin to 
work with them, they are our helpers. By them we can 
evolve very much more quickly. We are not at the head 
of evolution. Humanity has not yet reached perfection. 
Why should not I try to evolve a little more quickly 
by utilising the laws of nature that I know, and thereby 
increase the speed of evolution for myself and for my 
fellow men?" That is what is being done all round 
us with regard to the breeding of animals. How is it 
that a scientific breeder can, in the course of a few gen- 
erations, develop in his stock certain characteristics? 
Because he knows the laws of nature and utilises those 



NATURE'^S FINER FORCES. 151 

that suit him, and neutralises those that don't suit him. 
In that way he brings about what he desires very much 
more rapidly. By making intelligence a factor, you can 
do the same with your mind. The laws of psychology 
are fairly well known; the way in which the mind de- 
velops is fairly well understood. If you deliberately 
apply psychological laws to your own mind, intelligently, 
rationally, and persistently, you can evolve it at a pace 
which leaves behind ordinary evolution. Now, mind is 
the power that shapes matter. You shape your physical 
body from the subtler world which interpenetrates the 
physical. You can shape your subtle body and give it 
the organs whereby it shall contact the subtle worlds. 

Meditation is the great way of doing this, and it is by 
meditation that the Eastern psychologist has developed 
senses which are able to answer to finer vibrations, which 
are able to contact things invisible to the physical eye. 
It is on these invisible things, of course, that all re- 
ligions are really based, only that they have lost the 
methods of proving them, of demonstrating them to a 
sceptical world. The result has been that while those 
great truths — survival after death, communication with 
the other worlds, living the heavenly life while still in 
the physical body — are taught by religions, the method 
of proving them has been lost. Therefore, when Science 
challenges them with its experiments, they are obliged 
to say: "We can't demonstrate our truths to you in a 
similar way." They feel that they are right; a subtle 
instinct makes them cling to those ideas, despite all the 
arguments of Science, but tlvfy cannot prove them 

Now, it is just here that Theosophy comes in, bring- 
ing some of the old Eastern knowledge within the power 



152 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

of Study of the Western peoples, advising them to take up 
some of its methods if they would know the reality of the 
things in which they have been instructed, and so be able 
to face a sceptical world, and prove them by first-hand 
experiment, and not as simply stated on authority. 

Let us see whether we cannot make out a good case 
for the belief in the finer sight, the finer hearing, the 
finer forces. Men like Frederick Myers came definitely 
to the conclusion that we are in touch with more worlds 
than one. You may remember that in ** Human Person- 
ality," a most valuable book to read, he drew a distinction 
between what he called planetary consciousness, that 
which we are using every day, and cosmic consciousness, 
which touches the realities on which religions are based. 
Western science is being forced into this position now. 
It cannot escape it. It has found by its own experi- 
ments that there are forces subtler than those it is deal- 
ing with in the laboratory, forces that it cannot deal 
with by its apparatus. Psychologists cannot escape from 
contacting these things through human brains and 
human intelligences a little out of the normal. Some 
abnormal human brains have shown a greater capacity 
than normal brains to respond to finer vibrations. I will 
ask you for a moment to attend to that, for it is a 
point of enormous importance. When you deal with 
consciousness, you may deal with normal consciousness as 
you see it all round you, the consciousness of the market 
place and of the professional man, that by which you 
and I and all the folk around us communicate with each 
other. There is no doubt about that primary fact. We 
all know it. But you have not understood human con- 
sciousness, if you deal only with the consciousness that 



nature's finer forces. 153 

shows through the waking brain of ordinary people. 
The worlds of sleep and dreams were the next that 
Science tried to examine. First by trying to work upon 
the dream state by outside contact. You can read a 
good deal about that in Du Prel's " Philosophy of Mysti- 
cism." You can experiment, if you like, for yourselves, 
if you will take the trouble and have the patience. It 
has been shown that by touching the body in various ways 
you can produce dreams. One famous experiment which 
was made in France was touching the back of the neck 
of the sleeper, and wakening the sleeper by the touch. 
Between the time of the touch and the wakening — a 
fraction of a second — the man had dreamt a long story of 
how he had committed a murder, how he had been tried 
for the crime, heard the charge of the judge to the jury, 
been condemned to death for the murder, carried to the 
condemned cell, kept there till the day of the execution, 
brought out to the execution, and guillotined. As the 
knife touched his neck — the touch which started the 
dream — he woke. Now, that is one of many cases 
showing that the dream consciousness works much more 
rapidly than the waking consciousness, and therefore, 
works in finer matter than the waking consciousness. 
The rate of vibration in nervous matter we know, the 
nervous vibrations in the brain that correspond with 
waking thoughts. It has been measured; but if you 
can crowd the events of a week, of a month, of a year, 
into one part of a second of mortal time, it means that 
the vibrations corresponding with them are very much 
quicker, and would have to be measured by an entirely 
different law of space and time. That showed the scien- 
tific men that there was matter finer than that which 



154 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

they knew, and forces subtler than the forces they had 
studied. Soon they were not content with working under 
the old methods; they tried to catch and question the 
dreamer while he was still dreaming, and threw him 
into a trance that they might do so. So they used the 
finer forces of nature without understanding them; for 
when this eye is so closed in the hypnotic trance that 
it is incapable of receiving an impression, when, if you 
throw an electric light into it, there is no movement to 
close the pupil, then, though the eye is thus absolutely 
insensitive to light, the man can see much further than 
he can see through his physical eye. He can see hun- 
dreds of miles, can tell you what is happening far 
away; can see through a closed door, and describe what 
is taking place on the other side of it. People sometimes 
say this is mental telepathy. Let me give you an instance 
and see whether telepathy will explain this far sight, 
which can be used at a distance of hundreds of miles. 
You have all heard of my friend, the late Charles Brad- 
laugh. He was a materialist, and did not believe in these 
subtler things at all, but he was a man of extraordinary 
magnetic power and made a number of experiments in 
mesmerism. He gave it up because it seemed to have 
no natural explanation, and he had not the time to make 
sufficient investigations. One experiment ho had made 
baffled him to the end. He used to experiment by mesmer- 
ising his wife. He told me the story himself. One day, in 
Leeds, I think, he mesmerised her, and said: "Go to the 
London office of the 'National Reformer,' and tell me 
what article they are setting up." In a moment she 

said: "I am there. Mrs. is setting up type." "All 

right," said he, "look at her, and see and read what she 



NATURE^S FINER FORCES. 155 

is setting up." His wife began to read the sentence 
that was being set up by the printer at the moment. 
She said : '* The stupid woman, she has put a letter in 
upside down." Next morning the proof was delivered 
to him in Leeds, and he found the sentence his wife had 
read the day before, with the reversed letter that she had 
seen put in upside down in the setting of the type. There 
was certainly no telepathy there ; it is not a case you can 
explain by telepathy, for he did not know it, she did not 
know it. They were not in touch with the people who 
were setting up the type. This case is valuable, inas- 
much as it showed the accuracy of that far seeing, and 
was in itself so trivial. And you can take hundreds of 
cases of that sort, or experiment yourself if you want 
to find out about it. Such sight is a simple seeing in 
finer matter; nothing more, nothing miraculous, nothing 
super-human, only a finer organ of vision utilised by the 
same perceptive power that you use with the coarser 
organ of vision that you call your physical eye. We call 
it the astral eye. We call it astral sight. All men will 
have it after a time. In the long course of evolution, 
everyone will develop that keener power, and it is very 
interesting to notice that numbers of people are develop- 
ing it now, and especially under certain conditions. We 
find more children born every year with that faculty. 
In the Western States of America, such as California or 
Kansas, large numbers of people are somewhat clair- 
voyant. What is the explanation of people being born 
with that keener, subtler, vision? One explanation of 
why so many are being born there with the finer vision 
is largely climatic. The climate is very dififerent from 
the climate in Europe, and, I understand, from the 



156 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

climate here. The electric tension is very much higher; 
the air is filled with electricity to an enormous extent. 
It is so charged with electricity that if in the winter, 
when it is cold, you rub your feet on the carpet you can 
then put out your finger and light the gas. You often 
see that done as an experiment when, in a lecture on 
electricity, a person is put on an insulated seat and 
then is charged with electricity. But in these States no 
insulation is necessary, and it is a favourite game with 
little children, rubbing their feet on the carpet as they 
run, and then making sparks. I have seen it done over 
there, and have done it myself. You may say: "Why 
should that make a person clairvoyant?'* The electrical 
condition puts the nerves into a state of higher tension, 
and they vibrate at a quicker rate. It is quite simple. That 
is not the only reason. There are other reasons, a num- 
ber of other things that contribute. But there is one 
experiment any one of you might make which will 
show you how very little is the difference between the 
ordinary sight and the lower types of the keener sight. 
I have known people who, when they are ill, become 
clairvoyant. The answer is that their nerves are out of 
order, and at a greater tension than it is healthy for the 
nerves to be. You may say : ''Well, then, it is largely the 
result of disease at present." There comes in the point 
of the abnormal. As I have said before, that which is 
abnormal to-day is not necessarily diseased. It may be 
a case of advancing evolution. There are two forms of 
nervous instability. One is the instability of degener- 
ation, on the line of disease; the other is the instability 
of the growth of a higher sensitiveness, which means 
advance in evolution. You know how Lombroso 



NATURE^S FINER FORCES, 157 

and others of his school declared that all cases of genius 
were cases of degeneration, how they said that genius 
and lunacy were so closely allied that genius was a 
disease. Now, if it were true, in a way it would not 
matter, because everybody would rather have that disease 
than be without it. One's great longing would be to 
become diseased, if genius could only be had along that 
line, for after all one genius is worth a thousand ordinary 
people to the world. When Lombroso went on to say 
that all religions, all art, all prophecy, and so on, were 
all the results of diseased nerves, one felt inclined to go 
down on one's knees to pray that that disease might 
spread, for these are the things that make the world 
worth living in. Now what is the real explanation of 
this? It is true that these things are abnormal at 
present. I think we may put it in this way : in both cases 
the matter of the brain is in a state of what is called 
unstable equilibrium, and therefore easily thrown off its 
balance. As just said, there are two sorts of this insta- 
bility, one of the instability which goes on into disease 
and madness; the other of the instability which evolves 
upwards to a higher stage of human evolution. One 
goes down into sub-consciousness; the other climbs up 
into super-consciousness. The man of genius shows you 
what the human race shall be. He is the prophecy of 
the future. He is not the product of degeneracy. He 
shows us what all men shall become at a stage of higher 
evolution. He is the high-water mark of human pro- 
gress, and not the sign of a descent. There is, however, 
much to justify what Lombroso said. It is only fair 
to admit that at the present time the genius, the artist of 
the highest kind, the great religious leader, the seer, the 



158 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

prophet, the revealer, has often a brain too delicate to 
bear the rough vibrations of the outer world as it is 
constituted to-day. His brain is finer, but is often 
thrown out of tune, and the result is that side by side 
with the higher results of consciousness — the answering 
to the finer forces of the invisible world — you get what is 
called hysteria, the result of the overstrained condition of 
the nerves. There is no use in denying the facts. Can 
they be avoided? Yes. That is the answer of the 
Eastern scientist. He will say, as Lombroso says, that 
if you go with an unprepared body to receive these finer 
forces, they will jangle your nerves out of tune, they will 
trouble your brain and shatter your nervous system. 
But there is no reason why you should do it with an un- 
prepared brain or body. Train your brain by strenuous 
thinking, by devotion to great ideals. Make your brain 
sensitive to the higher vibrations. But do it gradually. 
Go step by step. Evolve it slowly and constantly, and 
then you will be able to receive the finer forces without 
shattering the instrument whereby they become manifest 
to your intelligence. Along that line evolution will come. 
You can train yourself to receive the finer forces, and 
yet keep the body healthy. You must refine the body, 
train it to a finer sensitiveness, at the same time that 
you preserve perfect health. That is the training by 
which the finer forces will become your servants, while 
at the same time they shall not be allowed to disorganise 
the nervous system, now suited only for the lower forces 
and coarser types of matter. Along that line, then, 
human evolution will go, and you may gradually and 
slowly build up bodies, developing your astral organs 
and interlinking them with the physical, so that you may 



NATURE^S FINER FORCES. 159 

consciously live in more worlds than one, so that you 
may know that death is nothing except the passing 
through a doorway from one room into another. For 
as these senses develop, you will find that the people 
you call dead are not dead at all. They are more alive 
than they ever were, living in bodies of finer matter, 
learning to utilise finer forces. I do not mean that you 
should reach them by bringing them down here by 
materialisation, and cross-examining them. I mean that 
you should reach them by refining yourself, so that 
you can use the finer body that they wear, and mingle 
with them in the body that is yours as much as theirs, for 
you also have astral bodies. You are using them all 
the time. The only thing you have to do is to assist 
their evolution, to organise them, to shape the various 
organs which then will answer to the vibrations outside 
of finer worlds. Your friends who have passed through 
death are only living in the intermediate world first, and 
then in the heavenly. They are about you, and it is only 
a question of how much you can communicate with them 
by means of the finer matter which is part of you now, 
only you have not learnt to use it. As I said, all men 
will grow to it in time. It is yours, if you will, to grow 
to it more quickly. As you evolve by definite gradations 
you become more and more sensitive to the finer forces of 
the subtler world. If this be true, and many of us have 
proved it to be true by our own experience. Science 
may begin to utilise these things. Why do I say *' may 
begin"? Science is beginning already to utilise them, 
for doctors of the Continent of Europe, especially in 
Paris, are utilising what we call etheiic sight in order 
to diagnose obscure diseases. They mesmerise the per- 



160 AUSTRALIAJM LECTURES 1908. 

son, and get that person to use the finer sight — for you 
have all got it — to diagnose the disease, which the physi- 
cal eye cannot see through the muscle and bones of the 
physical body ; they utilise the X rays, without the danger 
of the ordinary use of X rays. They do not call it clair- 
voyance. That would not consort wdth the dignity of the 
medical profession. They call it internal autoscopy. It 
does not matter what you call it, only ** Clairvoyance" is 
easier to say. They are beginning to use the finer 
forces. More and more these forces will be utilised. 
Why should not the chemist use the finer forces to in- 
vestigate, when his microscope and balance fail? Some 
of you know that a very large number of important 
investigations have been made during the last summer. 
Nearly sixty chemical elements have been examined by 
clairvoyance, their forms have been pictured, and dia- 
grams have been made, showing the relation of one part 
to the other. Chemists are interested in what has been 
done, and at the present time some are studying these 
things, in order to see how far chemistry can utilise 
these investigations, carried much further than chemists 
have been able to carry their researches hitherto. I am not 
asking that these observations of ours slhould be taken as 
facts, only as reasonable hypotheses ; that chemists, when 
they find a mass of information such as Mr. Leadbeater 
and myself have been giving them during these late 
months, entirely made up of clairvoyant observations, 
should, if they appear to them to be reasonable, use 
them by experimenting on them. If they can succeed 
by making discoveries through experiments on these 
theories, then it will be a fair argument for clairvoyance 
for us to say; "These things were studied in 1907 by 



nature's finer forces. 161 

Theosophical Clairvoyants, and now science is proving 
them." These are possibilities of helpfulness to ortho- 
dox scientists. So with electrical researches. Quite 
lately I have received — since I have arrived in Australia — 
a request from one of your own electricians to look clair- 
voyantly at the X rays and other rays. Scientific men 
are beginning to wake up to the possibility of things 
which a few years ago they denied, and it is the 
duty of those members of the Society who have devel- 
oped, to some extent at least, these finer organs to put 
them at the service of scientific men, to observe accurately 
and record exactly what they see. Although I have 
studied chemistry, I do not pretend to be a great chem- 
ist. I realise that what is valuable in these investiga- 
tions is not the theories which I might make, but the 
particular facts which I am able to observe. I leave 
scientists to make the theories, because they know so 
much more than I know. These are merely actual observa- 
tions of, to us, visible things. If chemists find they can 
be utilised to carry chemical science further than it has 
been carried yet, so much the better. It will intro- 
duce them to the higher possibilities of evolution, and 
make them less sceptical as to the present evolution of 
man. You may say to me, and I shall answer straight- 
forwardly: "Is it true that everyone has these powers?" 
Yes. The proof of it is this: there are a few people 
you find with these powers when wide awake, but you 
find, if you mesmerise a person, that almost every per- 
son can be made clairvoyant. When you stop the coarser 
vibrations, the finer are able to assert themselves. That 
is an absolute fact. But just as you would not hear the 
delicate notes of a violin in the crash of a motor omni- 



162 AUSTRALIAN LECTURES 1908. 

bus, SO you cannot hear or feel the finer vibrations of 
matter when the coarser ones are about you, and you 
are answering to them. The dulling of the coarser parts 
of the brain enables the finer parts of the brain to be 
utilised by yourself, the perceiver. If you find that 
almost everyone mesmerised is able to see, is it not a 
fair presumption that that is a common power develop- 
ing in evolution at the present time? Some people have 
developed it a little bit ahead of others, but all of us 
will develop it in time. It is only a question of effort 
applied along a particular line. People, while practi- 
cally developing it now, require for high success a certain 
capacity to begin with, just as you cannot make 
a senior wrangler out of a boy who cannot understand 
the simple elements of mathematics. And so with any 
one of you ; unless the mental organs are in a state of 
high development, you must give the senses time to 
evolve. Though you may not be able to attain it at 
once, what I want to leave with you is the idea that it 
is a natural thing. Presently everybody will have it. 
Whether any one of you can develop it or not depends 
on your having a little capacity, on having time and 
patience, by which you will evolve it more rapidly than 
nature will do it for you. If you will look at things *n 
that way, that you have not reached the highest point 
of hrunan evolution, that you have to go higher and 
higher up this mighty ladder, that you have grown out 
of the mud far below, that you will climb up to the 
highest point of the Divine Mountain in the days to 
come, then it will not seem strange that in the past there 
have been men above their fellows who have spoken 
of the realities of the other worlds. Then you will 



KATURE^S FINER FORCES. 163 

realise the possibility of the prophet and the sage. The 
more highly these powers are developed in you, the more 
you will grow up to a higher sense of the dignity of 
human nature; your future destiny will become more 
real, your inner powers will become to you more possible 
of realisation ; and so the laws of scientific thought along 
which I have been trying to lead you will bring you into 
regions of beauty, of grandeur, of splendour, that at 
the present time you can scarcely dream of, and you will 
know the mighty possibilities which lie in the nature 
of man, a citizen of heaven, although living for a time 
on earth. 



Theosophical Society 







fft 




^iiro gljarmalj 


J * ItBljer tijsti Srntlj. 




'«/0H *** 


OBJECTS. 


^** 



To form a nucleus of the universal Brotherhood of humanity, 
without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or color. 
To encourage the study of comparative religion, philosophy 
and science. 

To investigate unexplained laws of nature and the powers 
latent In man. 

AUSTRALASIAN SECTION of the 
THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY 

Headquarters — 

132 Phillip Street, SYDNEY 

General Secretary, W, G. JOHN. 



THE SECTION is composed of all the Branches in 
the Australian Commonwealth united for common action 
and literary interchange. It is presided over by an 
annually-elected Council and a General Secretary. As a 
Section, it is in relation to all the other Sections of the 
Society,and is affiliated with the central headquarters of the 



whole, which are situated at Adyar, Madras, India, under 
the Presidency of Mrs. Annie Besant, as successor to 
Col. H. S. Olcott, who, with Madame H. P. Blavatsky, 
founded the Society in 1875. 



BRANCHES IN THE COMMONWEALTH 
with Days of Public Meetings. 

ADELAIDE.— Victoria Square West. 

Sundays, alternately 11 a.m. and 7.30 p.m. 
ALLANSFORD.—Victoria. Care of J. A. C. Ziegler. 

BRISBANE.— School of Arts Bldg., Ann Street. 
Sundays, 7.30. 

BENDIGO.— Victoria. Care of W. Williams, 216 Don 
Street. 

CAIRNS. — Queensland. Gilbert Bates, Hon. Secretary. 

FREMANTLE.— Mrs. U. Patterson, " Brooklyn,** Canton- 
ment Road. 

HOBART.— Care of K. Dear, Cathedral Chambers. 

LAUNCESTON.— 64a Tamar Street. 

Sundays, 7 p.m. 
MELBOURNE.— Four Branches. 

Melbourne Branch and Eastern Hill Branch, both at 

The Empire, 268 Flinders-street. 

Sundays, 7 p.m.; Tuesdays, 8 p.m. 

Ibis Branch, 8 Garden Street, South Yarra. 

Besant Lodge, Scourfield Chambers, 165 Collins Street. 

Sundays, 7.30 p.m. 
PERTH.— West Aus. Chambers, St. George's Terrace. 

Sundays, 8 p.m. 
SYDNEY. — 132 Phillip Street, (Australasian Headquarters. 

Sundays, 7.15 p.m.; Thursdays, 7.45 p.m. 

TOWNSVILLE.— Queensland. Horn's Buildings, Flin- 
ders Street. 
Saturdays, 8 p.m. 

Amongst the above there are Book Depots for the 
sale of books at Adelaide Branch, Brisbane Branch, Mel- 
bourne Branch, Besant Lodge (Melbourne), and at Sydney 



Headquarters. In addition to various meetings for mem- 
bers during the week, most of the Branches hold a week- 
day meeting for enquirers. A complete Syllabus of all 
meetings could be obtained on application to the Branch 
^t the address given above. 

LIBRARIES are attached to each of these Branches 
for the free use of members, and at the larger Branches 
the public are permitted the use of the books on payment 
of a small fee. 

At all the larger Branches a public address is given 
at least once a week, generally on Sunday evenings, and 
there is usually one week-day evening meeting to which 
enquirers are welcome. At Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, 
and Brisbane the rooms are open every day during busi- 
ness hours for enquiries and the sale of books. All 
enquirers will be cordially welcomed at any of the above 
addresses. Those in charge will gladly meet any person 
desirous of further information. 

THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY is divided into 
Sections spread over almost the whole surface of the 
Globe, extending from San Francisco eastward to Japan, 
and from New Zealand in the far South to Yukon in the 
frozen north. Each of these Sections is under the charge 
of a General Secretary, and is affiliated with the central 
focus of the Society at Adyar, Madras, India, the Central 
Headquarters, founded by the joint efforts of Madame H. 
P. Blavatsky and Colonel H. S. Olcott. 

THE ADVANTAGES OF BECOMING A MEMBER 

May be said to comprise, among other matters: — 

Personal touch with those who are interested in the 
study of Theosophy and other kindred subjects. 

The use, without payment of any fee, of the Society's 
library books, either those of a Branch or those of the 
Sectional library at Sydney Headquarters. 

The privilege of attending the Branch meetings of the 
Society, with freedom to take part in all their proceedings. 



Forms of application for membership can be obtained 
from the General Secretary, 132 Phillip Street, Sydney, or 
from the Secretary of any one of the Branches. 



PUBLISHED MONTHLY by the AUSTRALASIAN SECTION 
Through the General Secretary, W. G. JOHN 
Sydney Headquarters— 132 PHILLIP STREET 

"Theosophy in Australasia" 



A Monthly Magazine, being the official organ of the 
Society for this part of the world. 

Contains articles on Theosophical subjects, criticisms 
upon passing events having a bearing upon the 
thought which brings members of the Theosophical 
Society together, and news of the movement generally 
from all parts of the world. 

Annual Subscription, 6/-, post free. Single copy, 6d. 



The following are a few of the text books amongst the 
Society's publications, and may be purchased at any of the 
Book Depots. Prices include postage: — 

s. d. 

Outline of Theosophy (C. W. Leadbeater) i ^ 

Clairvoyance do. . . .... 2 j 

The Astral Plane do. j 2 

Man: Visible and Invisible do. no 

The Other Side of Death do. 71 

Thought Power (Annie Besant) 1 9 

Ancient Wisdom do. . . 5 6 

Reincarnation do. I 2 

Man and His Bodies do. , . . i 2 

In the Outer Court do. 2 j 

Esoteric Christianity do. 5 5 

Nature's Mysteries (A. P. Sinnett) 24 

Esoteric Buddhism do. 211 

Rationale of Mesmerism do. 3 4 

First Steps in Theosophy (E. M. Mallett) .... 24 

A complete Catalogue can be obtained from the 
Society's Headquarters, 132 Phillip Street, Sydney. 

' ' " ■ .... , ^ 

George Robertson & Co. Prop. Ltd. 



14 DAY USE 

RETURN TO DESK FROM WHICH BORROWED 

LOAN DEPT. 

This book is due on the last date stamped below, or 

on the date to which renewed. 

Renewed books are subjea to immediate recall. 



RENEWALS ONLY - Tel. Nu. 642-340i 



'g^^a^^a 






JUN18'68-1P>M 



^KW^DIK, NOV 2 75 



LD 21A-10m-l,'68 
(H7452sl0)476B 



General Library 

University of California 

Berkeley 



YB 71632